Android App Store and the Growing Threat to Mobile Devices and the IoT

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As the popularity of the Android OS grows, powering not only phones but increasingly tablets, TV boxes, and a host of other IoT devices; its rapidly increasing install base becomes a double-edged sword.  The Android platform has become quite ubiquitous globally, but, as a result, it has also become a magnet for malware developers and those bad actors and hackers who are keen on breaching its App store security in order to gain access to personal information, to execute phishing attacks and, in general, to cause headaches to users.  This is also why it comes as no surprise when an article showed up a couple of days ago on SlashGear that highlighted that there were a number of Google Play Store apps, that had been downloaded by users over 4 million times, which were found to have been rife with malware and phishing scams built into them.

In this case, almost 30 Android apps found on the Play Store were found to be using a number of malicious tactics such as making it difficult for users to uninstall, displaying full-screen pop-up ads that linked to explicit content, downloading a paid media player, collecting personal information like addresses and phone numbers, along with containing embedded malware and executing phishing scams.

Mobile devices have always been more susceptible to security attacks due to their lower powered computing nature and the inability, or unwillingness, of users to run endpoint protection in order to save battery life.  This is being compounded by the increasing number of IoT devices that are now connecting to the cloud with the same level of computing power as mobile devices and the same inability to protect themselves.  

With the increased risk, how do we ensure data security for mobile phones and safety for IoT devices on such an omnipresent platform?  That is where the likes of Wedge Networks comes in.  One of the key values that Wedge products offer is the ability to protect heterogeneous computing devices (those with a wide variety of different operating systems), detecting and blocking malware, zero days and APTs in the service provider networks and data centers, in real-time before they hit these devices.  

Wedge has been developing deep-learning based antimalware for heterogeneous computing devices such as Windows, Unix/Linux,  Android, iOS, etc. It has been working with  world leading threat intelligence OEM partners, and universities in developing and embedding advanced real-time malware detection and blocking in its products.   The security case of the Google Play store tells us such ability to ensure security and safety for mobile/IoT devices are critical.

About Wedge Co-founder, CEO & CTO

Hongwen Zhang, Co-founder, Chief Executive Officer & Chief Technical Officer Co-founder of Wedge Networks, Inc., Dr. Zhang previously co-founded the 24C Group Inc., which pioneered the first digital receipts infrastructure for secure electronic commerce, and was a principal of Servidium Inc., a global leader in agile development methodology. He holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science and a M.Sc. in Computer Engineering. Throughout his 25+ years career and leadership in the enterprise software industry, Dr. Zhang has been instrumental in launching several commercially successful cyber security and safety products into the global market. This has resulted in successful customer adoptions; from his involvement in the Digital Receipt Infrastructure (with the 24C Group, and later AxWay), through his work with companies such as Valmet/Telvent (now Schneider), and Servidium (acquired by Thought Works Inc.). Dr. Zhang served as the Chair of the Metro Ethernet Forum’s (MEF) Security-as-a-Service working group, which defined the practices of Managed Security Service Providers (MSSPs) for many of the largest telecom service providers in the world. He is a well-respected speaker and writer in the areas of security and cloud computing. As a co-founder of Wedge Networks, Dr. Zhang has led the design, implementation, and launch of the firm’s patented, award-winning Deep Content Inspection and Security Services Orchestration platform.
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