SA security app for Android launched

2013-08-06 15:02
Android software powers most smartphones worldwide as the Google-backed mobile platform dominates the market. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Android software powers most smartphones worldwide as the Google-backed mobile platform dominates the market. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Cape Town - A new application has been launched to counter the threat of mobile malware on the Android platform.

"Android now being the world's most popular OS, makes it the perfect environment for cyber criminals to 'phish' for personal details," said Carey van Vlaanderen, CEO ESET Southern Africa.

The company launched its Mobile Security app for South African users on Tuesday.

While most consumers would assume that the applications on smartphones are safe if apps are downloaded from the official online storefront, Van Vlaanderen said that platform vulnerabilities were rampant.

"Most users are completely unaware that their phone is open to cyber threat from simply using a popular search engine, browsing a website, or even downloading an app from a third party store."

Android in particular, has a setting for installing applications from unknown sources where users can choose to install programs from non-Play Store sources.

Virus protection

On iOS, users can choose to enable restrictions on the ability to install applications on the device, as well as restrictions related to adult content and in-app purchases.

On BlackBerry 10, users can set the security permissions for apps, including device identifying information and location individually.

The security app provides for virus protection and scanning for malware on the Android platform.

"Hackers have spotted an incredible vulnerability in Android that means they can easily manipulate code and plant Trojans in apps to consistently access, monitor and steal personal information," said Drew van Vuuren, CEO at 4Di Privaca.

Android powers more than 70% of mobile devices worldwide and this has an impact on hackers who target the platform.

Common attacks include phishing and spam as criminals try to steal personally identifiable information.

An academic said that criminals who steal personal information in SA were getting away with the crime.

"I think they get away with it very often; the penalties are very paltry," Sylvia Papadopoulos, lecturer in the Department of Mercantile, Cyber Law at University of Pretoria told News24.

ESET Mobile Security for Android is a free download from the Google Play Store online platform.

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