New security attacks against Android smartphones

In 2008 Google launched the Android Market and estimates indicate there are now more than 200 million Android smartphones and tablets. And these smartphone and tablet users have downloaded over 10 billion applications from the Android Market.

With all that success, the Android application market has become an increasing target for cyber criminals.  In 2011 alone Google has removed more than 100 malicious applications from the Android Market.

Some of the tactics used by these criminals and hence things to monitor include malware bundled with fake applications. In this ruse the malicious app borrows elements of a legitimate app and then re-packages it with malicious code. In this category we find fake games, horoscopes, wallpapers and accessories to bestselling games such as “Angry Birds” and “Cut the Rope.”

Android targeted malware have been able to record keystrokes, send SMS messages to sign you up for 3rd party SMS services, record conversations, even factory reset a device without any input needed from the user.

One of the issues with the Android Market is that Google, unlike Microsoft and Apple, has not implemented a consistent program of vetting software submissions from developers and scanning applications for malware.

To combat this growing situation corporations with employees using Android powered devices are implementing remote security management systems for mobile devices. Functions and capabilities include: remote lock & unlock, remote reset, remove configuration data, ability to lock management on phone, full device encryption, wipe encrypted data, SD card encryption, add blacklist, disable application, wipe application data, enable & disable camera, enable & disable wifi, enable & disable microphone, enable & disable enterprise applications, and prevent uninstall applications by user.

So this holiday season, make sure on your Santa wish list is some capability to securely manage the growing user base of Android devices.