Blog11 - Is It Secure Enough for You: A Look at the "Best" Android Security Apps Computers 

Is It Secure Enough for You: A Look at the “Best” Android Security Apps

There have been a lot of “reliable” Android security apps in the market. How high is their efficacy rate? Join us as we delve into the concept of the best Android security apps to date.

Pretty much everyone has a mobile phone. It’s convenient and it helps improve the quality of life of its end users. So you probably won’t be the only one who would say they value their smartphone highly. However, despite all the benefits, there are significant pitfalls as well. Unscrupulous people always aim to target smartphones; knowing quite well that there’s sensitive information they can take advantage of. With that in mind, just how can you secure your mobile device?

While there are built-in security measures for Android phones, it always pays to go the extra mile. Security apps available in the market and we’ve taken a closer look at some touted as the “Best”. To note, these can help but if your phone is beyond repair, consider iphone repair nashville and have your device restored to it’s original efficiency.

Avast Antivirus & Security

One of the security apps that offer a vast range of security tools, this has the ready antivirus protection and provides a web shield that scans all URLs for malware. Avast has an impressive almost perfect detection rate for any threats and malware attacks.

There is a free and a paid version of this app.

Avira Antivirus Security

This Android app has both a paid and a free version. It has a minimal design to it that suits most Zen aesthetic. What can set this app apart from the rest is the fact that it lets its users scan apps for risks and vulnerabilities prior to installation.

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This app has anti-theft tools so, as a user, you have a stronger layer of protection versus actual physical theft of your device. It has a device tracker and remote access. So you can lock, wipe, or even trigger an alarm. It’s quite helpful.

Both are good in the sense that they have over 97% efficacy rate in determining risks and attacks. The extra features are a bonus. Most phone users do not realize that having an antivirus on their device is necessary. If you’re reading this and you don’t have one for your device, it would be in your best interest to get one now.

End users have as much responsibility toward the security of their device as hardware and software developers do. If you have any questions or want a recommendation, feel free to send us a message.

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Blog7 - MoST 2016: Mobile Security Technologies 2016 Computers 

MoST 2016: Mobile Security Technologies 2016

Continuing our discussion about our MoST conferences, we move on to 2016. The Mobile Security Technologies 2016 conference was held at The Fairmont Hotel in California. Like every year previously, we aspire to bring together the pioneers and newest minds in the field of research, software development, and policy development.

MoST is always held as part of the IEEE Computer Society Security and Privacy Workshops. On this year, we had Patric McDaniel as our keynote speaker. Professor McDaniel is part of the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at The Pennsylvania State University. He delivered a talk entitled “Learning from Ourselves: Where are we and where can we go in mobile systems security?”

He explored the era of security research of smart mobile systems. He highlighted the lessons learned and lessons that should have been learned. He also touched upon the opportunities and limitations of markets and their providers.

2016 was the year wherein the first session focused up the concepts of risks in mobile transactions, grayware, and target fragmentation. Grayware refers to malicious code or software like adware, spyware, and trackware.

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As more and more end users make use of their devices to do transactions, these became the norm target for hackers. It was said that 10% of Android devices suffer from malware attacks every three months. Malware targets sensitive information like personal banking information. If you make use of your mobile device to look up your account balance, this is exactly what hackers try to gain access to. Certain forms of threats aren’t always so obvious.

The act of shoulder surfing, either physically or with the use of cameras, is a well-known method of stealing your passwords and other sensitive details. Yes, this is a thing. Researchers have found that while more and more individuals are looking into the depths of their devices for potential risks, there is even less thought given to physical risks.

The second session of the MoST 2016 conference focused on browser history stealing and inferring activity from smart home network traffic. Browser history data, particularly the key-logged passwords and usernames are quite valuable. If you’ve ever made the habit of telling your device to “remember this password”, you’re opening yourself up to a vulnerability. Personal websites like dating ones are often the target of hackers. The hack is one such example.

The third and last session of that day focused on defenses. There was an interesting discussion regarding the classification of Android malware based on their runtime behavior. It is comforting to know that we have budding and established professionals who are working around the clock to determine threats.

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Mitigating threats is one of the key purposes of mobile security. Threats are becoming more sophisticated and smarter each day. It would only make sense if our defense systems were to evolve as well. The only catch is: how soon can our defenses adapt and block out evolving threats? It is a good thing for everyone that we’ve got good people on our side.

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Blog5 - MoSt 2015: Mobile Security Technologies 2015 Computers Security 

MoSt 2015: Mobile Security Technologies 2015

We move on to the next in our series of hindsight discussions. Today, we discuss Mobile Security Technologies 2015. Join us as we look back on thoughtful discussions we had that year. Like previous years, MoST brought together brilliant minds that continued to blaze trails in the fields of mobile security.

This year’s keynote speaker was Adrian Ludwig, a head engineer for Android security at Google. He holds a BA in Mathematics from Williams College and an MBA from the University of California in Berkeley. He discussed Android Security Data and Research Directions. It was a thoughtful discussion regarding Google’s complete dedication to providing end users with upgraded protection from malware and other forms of cyber attacks.

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This was quite relevant that year as a staggering amount of T-Mobile users had their information compromised. Granted, that their details were taken after the company Experian was hacked. However, this hack was damaging as it took a lot of crucial personal data from users. These are critical information that could, at any point in time, be carried by mobile devices.

Mobile devices have seen a total spike in malware attacks which particularly target programs and applications that have transactional value. At least 25% of all mobile devices have encountered threats each month. This comes after 2014 where in 1 in 5 Android users have experience a mobile threat. iOS users were not in the clear as well. In the year 2015, iOS users had experienced a 262% increase in the number of vulnerabilities since 2011.

While much has been done to provide end users with better applications, user complacency has always been a large factor in mobile security. A lot of users still install apps and software from unverified sources. Another source of vulnerability is the fact that end users dig in their heels when it comes to OS updates. The greatest vulnerability that permeates mobile devices would be users that jailbreak or root their units in order to access free programs.

We cannot place enough emphasis on that last one. When you jailbreak your phone, your actions completely remove your phone’s built-in security features. Every researcher who has spoken at MoST have placed critical emphasis on educating end users and making them part of keeping their mobile security intact.

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A submission entitled “Analyzing End Users’ Knowledge and Feelings Surrounding Smartphone Security and Privacy” stressed the drastic increase of threats that users face. This paper proposed that researchers must focus on security by default mechanisms. These should be configured in a simple manner as to not alienate less technical savvy users. They clarified that additional empirical research must be done better understand how an end user can be made an intrinsic part of their mobile device security. If end users are made aware of threats and mitigations, they will be better equipped to protect their assets.

MoST has continued to provide much needed spotlight on fresh perspectives that trickle into what we know mobile security is today. It is a completely wonderful achievement for all.

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Blog3 - MoST Preparations: Submission Formatting and Topics Computers Security 

MoST Preparations: Submission Formatting and Topics

We’ve discussed receiving submissions for the conferences we’ve held. Today, we share the sort of formats and submissions that we are always looking out for. As always, our conferences are geared toward bringing together researchers, practitioners, and developers of mobile systems. Our goal is to provide an area in which we may all further explore the precepts of mobile security and its vulnerabilities.

In the interest of future preparation, we’ll be sharing the categories and requirements for submission entries. We accept both short (2-4 pages) and long (10 pages maximum) papers. To provide you an example, for the 2014 MoST conference, the submissions we received touched upon the topics of:

  • Privacy
  • Vulnerabilities of cloud storage
  • Secured communication networks
  • The economic impact of security and privacy tech
  • Operating systems

The other topics that MoST 2014 aimed to discuss are: device hardware, middleware, secure app development tools and practices, usable security, identity and access control, specialized applications, secure apps and application markets.

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The papers which were accepted were all published online in the workshop proceedings. It is to be noted that we strictly enforce that submissions must be original and cannot be simultaneously submitted to other journals or conferences.

We believe in impartial review. As such, we always request that papers are formatted to suit anonymous review. Papers must have no author names or affiliations presented on the title page. The author must always be careful to avoid revealing who they are through any of the passages of their findings. When referring to previous works or findings, it is required to refer to them as if they were done by someone else. We expect strict compliance. Papers that do not adhere to this are immediately rejected without review.

If you are interested in submitting any papers for any of our workshops or conferences, allow us now to discuss page limits and formatting.

Short Submissions: Short paper submissions must not exceed four pages.
Long Submissions: Long papers must not exceed ten pages. This shall include all references and appendices.

We require submissions be formatted for US letter size paper. Margins are set at ¾ on all sides. All text shall be formatted in a two-column layout. These columns are not to be more than 9 inches in height and 3 inches in length. All text must be in the font of Times New Roman. We encourage those who aim to submit their works to make use of the IEEE conference proceeding templates.

img2 - MoST Preparations: Submission Formatting and Topics

Once you are satisfied with your discourse, it’ll be time to submit. All submissions must be in PDF form and error free.  For our 2014 conference, the submission deadline was by March 10th. We’ve been fortunate to have IBM Research’s Kapil Singh as our program chair. We’ve had the pleasure of having program committee members that come from establishes tech companies and universities.

Every MoST conference aims to build the network of those greatly interested in bettering everyone’s mobile security. We should strive to work together.

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Blog - MoST 2012: Mobile Security Technologies 2012 Computers Security 

MoST 2012: Mobile Security Technologies 2012

One of the best ways to know where you’re going is by looking behind you. Today, we take a look at some of our past conferences that you can use as a comparison point for latter events.

This conference was held last May 24 in the year 2012 in Westin St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco. We brought together practitioners and policy makers that helped attendees explore the mobile security advances of that time. This conference had both on-site and online registration for the workshops available that day.

We had Peter Eckersley come in and give a talk about Carrier IQ, quite the cause for controversy back then. It was found that Carrier IQ gathered data on its users and were not transparent regarding what the date was used for. Carrier IQ was formerly partnered with corporate giants like Sprint, AT&T, and even T-Mobile. Eckersley’s talk was entitled “Spies in our Pockets: Lessons from the Carrier IQ Scandal about Privacy and Transparency on Contemporary Cellular Networks.”

Carrier IQ was a privately held operation in California. In 2015, Carrier IQ was acquired by AT&T. It is unknown whether or not AT&T has scrapped the software which was able to monitor on-screen selections.

Eckersley, at the time, did technical policy work on a variety of issues which ranged from privacy to network neutrality. From there, MoST 2012 went on to have other Speakers present papers. These short position papers were submitted to discuss the topics of vulnerabilities and remediation techniques, risks in networks or clouds, and many more.

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At this point in time, it was evident that mobile security was something that needed surveillance from the general public. The outcry that had followed the Carrier IQ controversy showed that users cared quite deeply about their personal information and what it could be used for.

This particular conference also brought in people from Dalhousie University and IBM T.J Watson Research Center to discuss the concept of the Mobile Web. This session’s chair was Larry Koved. The afternoon session comprised of a discussion about Application Security and Privacy. Students from Seoul National University shared their research regarding a static analyzer that could detect privacy leaks in Android apps. Students from Virginia Tech shared their analysis on malicious mobile apps. A short break followed.

MoST 2012 was a success in bringing together like-minded individuals. We provided a safe space wherein the pioneers of latter technological advances were able to have a soundboard for their studies and analysis. If there was anything that we learned from this, it was the fact that the concept of mobile security and privacy was something to be safeguarded.

At that point in time, Apple and Samsung were all launching smartphones. They launched mobile devices that allowed users to purchase anything with a tap of a screen. This capability pretty much announced to the world that sensitive information was there for the taking. These mobile devices were infinitely alluring targets for hackers. That is why we strive to promote mobile security.

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