Risk
11/21/2011
11:40 AM
Connect Directly
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Android Security Becomes FUD Fest

Big scary warnings about Android security just keep on coming. Are you focused on the right MDM questions?

InformationWeek Now--What's Hot Right Now
With great power comes great responsibility, for the security community. The current noise and hype level around Android security has become so loud that I wonder if many people are simply tuning it out. As InformationWeek's Eric Zeman points out, Juniper, Symantec, and Kaspersky Labs have all been making dire warnings about increased threats to Android devices from malware.

You've probably seen the same string of headlines I have, like "Android's a malware magnet, says McAfee" and "2011 Is The Year Of Mobile Malware." Maybe you've seen the big scary numbers, too, like Juniper's claim that the ranks of mobile malware have risen 472% since July.

Zeman, no newcomer to mobile, notes that vendors have ratcheted up the scare factor pretty quickly-- given that a phone-to-phone threat that has yet to surface in a widespread way. Check out his take on where the truth lies between the vendor warnings and the critics' opinions on Android security.

Of course, as one reader commented on Zeman's story, mobile security also depends largely on user behavior: "If you don't want apps to have access to your personal data, then don't install apps that say they are going to access your personal data. It really is that simple. No app will ever have access to your personal data unless you have explicitly given it permission to access that data," writes DLYNCH294.

The hype around mobile device management hasn't been much better this year, says our MDM expert, Mike Davis, in his well-balanced column on Top 5 MDM Must-Do's.

As Davis notes about a recent conference talk: "I will most likely get hate email for saying this, but ... MDM technology is all pretty much the same; maybe 10% of features are unique, usually around self-registration capabilities and enhanced encryption. And I don't see that changing, even though Google and IBM got in the game this week, each announcing it will have an MDM product available soon."

If the vendor offerings prove that similar, Davis says, that means your recipe for staying safe in the enterprise boils down to three factors: planning, process, and policy enforcement. Check out his advice.

See our InformationWeek 2011 Mobile Device Management and Security Survey for more on how your peers are dealing with MDM. (It's free with registration.)

Amazon's Android-based Kindle Fire tablet poses a special problem, because your trusty enterprise mobile device management tools don't work with the Fire yet. The safest choice now: Block the device from connecting to your enterprise network, though users won't like it.

Looking ahead, Amazon also plans an Android Kindle phone in 2012--though InformationWeek's Thomas Claburn fears it could flop if Amazon makes a me-too design choice. "Amazon wants to sell you a phone so you'll buy Amazon App Store apps and Kindle e-books, which will almost certainly be readable on this expected Kindle phone (too bad the name Phondle won't fly)," writes Claburn.

Phondle. Don't you love it? That would not be a me-too name.

One thing's certain. Enterprise IT will not be fond of the Phondle if Amazon doesn't see its way clear to letting users connect to an app store that will allow install of enterprise-grade MDM tools.

Laurianne McLaughlin is editor-in-chief for InformationWeek.com. Follow her on Twitter at @lmclaughlin.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Oldest First  |  Newest First  |  Threaded View
Ted E.
50%
50%
Ted E.,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/22/2011 | 9:26:25 PM
re: Android Security Becomes FUD Fest

Sorry to bear bad news, but personal data can leak without downloading clearly "bad" apps or explicitly granting access to your personal data. In the case of many Android devices the risk involves the SD Card. Read my blog post to see how this can occur.

There has been some hype about Android security gaps. The antidote to FUD is quality information, which we provide in our mobile security risk report. Our information is both vendor neutral (we don't sell MDM) and highly technical/research based.
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: You are infected!  @malwareunicorn to the rescue...  
Current Issue
Security Operations and IT Operations: Finding the Path to Collaboration
A wide gulf has emerged between SOC and NOC teams that's keeping both of them from assuring the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of IT systems. Here's how experts think it should be bridged.
Flash Poll
New Best Practices for Secure App Development
New Best Practices for Secure App Development
The transition from DevOps to SecDevOps is combining with the move toward cloud computing to create new challenges - and new opportunities - for the information security team. Download this report, to learn about the new best practices for secure application development.
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2017-0290
Published: 2017-05-09
NScript in mpengine in Microsoft Malware Protection Engine with Engine Version before 1.1.13704.0, as used in Windows Defender and other products, allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code or cause a denial of service (type confusion and application crash) via crafted JavaScript code within ...

CVE-2016-10369
Published: 2017-05-08
unixsocket.c in lxterminal through 0.3.0 insecurely uses /tmp for a socket file, allowing a local user to cause a denial of service (preventing terminal launch), or possibly have other impact (bypassing terminal access control).

CVE-2016-8202
Published: 2017-05-08
A privilege escalation vulnerability in Brocade Fibre Channel SAN products running Brocade Fabric OS (FOS) releases earlier than v7.4.1d and v8.0.1b could allow an authenticated attacker to elevate the privileges of user accounts accessing the system via command line interface. With affected version...

CVE-2016-8209
Published: 2017-05-08
Improper checks for unusual or exceptional conditions in Brocade NetIron 05.8.00 and later releases up to and including 06.1.00, when the Management Module is continuously scanned on port 22, may allow attackers to cause a denial of service (crash and reload) of the management module.

CVE-2017-0890
Published: 2017-05-08
Nextcloud Server before 11.0.3 is vulnerable to an inadequate escaping leading to a XSS vulnerability in the search module. To be exploitable a user has to write or paste malicious content into the search dialogue.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
In past years, security researchers have discovered ways to hack cars, medical devices, automated teller machines, and many other targets. Dark Reading Executive Editor Kelly Jackson Higgins hosts researcher Samy Kamkar and Levi Gundert, vice president of threat intelligence at Recorded Future, to discuss some of 2016's most unusual and creative hacks by white hats, and what these new vulnerabilities might mean for the coming year.