Android malware isn't as big of a concern as some mainstream media reports would have you believe, but it is enough of an issue that Google started beefing up its security a few years ago. There's the "Bouncer" server-side scanning that checks apps before they go live, and your device runs app verification as new packages are installed. Now Google is about to patch a hole in the local app scanning by making it run continuously.
Samsung has announced a slew of improvements to its KNOX enterprise security product at this year's Mobile World Congress. For starters, users can now manage two separate secure containers per device, ideal for consultants with multiple clients or people who just want to better separate work data from personal files.
The total list of changes goes much deeper.
- Two separate secure containers per device, for example, for consultants who work for several companies or doctors who work for several clinics.
Lenovo isn't really known for putting out the best Android tablets on the market, and last year's lackluster YOGA tablets are a perfect example of that. The design seemed nice, but both the eight and 10 inch versions of the device were simply lacking in the spec department. Lenovo is looking to change that stance this year with the all new YOGA Tablet 10 HD+, which takes what worked with the original's form factor and stuffs it full of mostly decent hardware.
Even casual observers of the Android ecosystem know that piracy is a big issue for developers. But if a report from mobile security company Arxan is to be believed, app piracy and "hacking" is incredibly prevalent, or at least prevalent enough that most of the popular apps are available in a pirated or cracked form. According to the company's "State of Security in the App Economy" report for 2013 (PDF link), the top 100 paid Android apps have been "hacked."
We used "cracked" in the headline because Arxan doesn't mention the purpose behind these hacks, so we're assuming that in most cases they're free, pirated versions of paid apps.
Yet another facet of KitKat worth pointing out today is the addition of new security enhancements to the OS. Security is one area that's frequently sensationalized with Android - it seems that every few days a scare story about Android malware creeps onto my Google News page. Google's eliminating security arguments (and possible arguments) one at a time, though, and has made a few key enhancements this time around.
First among them is a change to SELinux.
Since Samsung unveiled the Galaxy Note 3 earlier this month, we've heard of launch dates from Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile. Now it's Sprint's turn. The carrier will start selling the Note 3 and the Gear smartwatch on October 4 both in stores and online. It's not yet available for pre-order, but you can at least register for more information on the two devices if Sprint's your only option.
We've talked quite a bit about mobile security in the past, and the name Bitdefender Mobile Security for Android always seems to make its way into the conversation. There's a good reason for that – since its initial release, Bitdefender Mobile Security has always been one of the top choices on Google Play when it comes to device protection. But the company hasn't been stagnant since the first release, it has pushed a steady stream of updates to the Play Store, brining new features to the table on a regular basis.
When it comes time to pull the trigger on a new app, the reviews are typically what make or break the decision. If the app's instable, laden with malware, full of bugs, or is generally all-around janky, the reviews give us a heads up. The only problem is that it's difficult to sift through all the reviews to find the ones most relevant to our needs. This used to not be a problem, but the ability to filter reviews went the way of the dodo following the Play Store's relatively recent redesign.
Samsung KNOX separates data and apps into containers, making it difficult for malware or intruders to gain access or cause damage where they aren't wanted, and it is integrated to a device's hardware and each individual level of the Android framework, making it a full-coverage solution. The software has been available to enterprises for some time now, alleviating concerns that Android isn't secure enough to protect corporate data and communications.
The assortment of apps you have to wade through when powering on a new phone for the first time is about to grow by one. Samsung is expected to announced on Wednesday that is has licensed Lookout's anti-malware suit for all its upcoming Android devices. No word yet on whether or not current devices will get Lookout as an update.