August 21, 2012
An increase in perceived cybercrime threats to mobile devices that use the popular Android operating system has led to the introduction of enhanced data loss prevention software.
McAfee has seen an increase in the number of applications on Android-powered smartphones and tablets that contain some form of malware. The operating system is becoming increasingly popular among writers of malicious code, and 5 percent of all downloaded apps in its marketplace are associated with what McAfee describes as "risky URLs."
"Android apps can ask for 124 types of permissions - these apps could be invading your privacy and exposing your personal life," commented Luis Blando, vice president of engineering for McAfee. "With McAfee Mobile Security, consumers can now filter their App Alert notifications to just those apps that are using permissions of interest or concern to the user. Whether selecting new apps, shopping online, browsing social networks or employing mobile banking, McAfee Mobile Security protects the mobile user with security that is as simple as it is powerful."
Malicious applications, such as mobile botnets, spyware and destructive Trojans, are becoming increasingly common on mobile devices. With consumers seemingly content to be connected to financial services or social networks wherever they go, issues of data security in the cloud are no longer confined to PCs or laptops.
Mobile apps should be researched
McAfee advises that consumers should thoroughly research not only the applications they are downloading to their mobile device, but also the publishers. Ratings can be a useful barometer to measure how the app will perform, but anti-virus software can be a valuable first step in protecting a smartphone or tablet.
"As security firms concentrate more and more on mobile offerings, adding new features such as privacy controls is very important, in particular to protect the user from banking fraud or identity theft," remarked Ben Wood, director of research at CCS Insight. "But the problem for security companies is that most users don't regard mobile security problems as a big threat. Turning mobile security into a meaningful product has proven to be difficult."
Google has estimated that, to date, 20 billion apps have downloaded onto the Android operating system. Thirty-three percent of these apps ask for permissions that they don't need while a recent report by the University of California at Berkeley revealed that 97 percent of users don't understand how granting permission to an app can affect their mobile device.
-McAfee Cloud Security