Monday, 01 October 2012 09:15

Two vendors offer free Android security software

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Two vendors are offering complimentary - and complementary - apps to help improve the security of Android phones and other devices.

Bitdefender's Wipe Stopper addresses the USSD 'remote wipe' vulnerability in various Android-based phones.

The problem is that the software installed by some phone manufacturers processes USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) codes without user intervention when they are encountered in a web page, for example.

That's not a big deal for innocuous USSD codes such as one to display the phone's IMEI, but it is a problem if the code is the 'factory reset' command for that particular handset model.

Wipe Stopper takes over from the existing dialler and prevents the processing of USSD codes contained in tel: URIs in web pages or other content.

"The moment the vulnerability came to light, Bitdefender set some of the best minds in the industry to working," said Bitdefender chief security researcher Alexandru Balan.

"We came up with the best solution available - Bitdefender Wipe Stopper. It's free, so we recommend pretty much every Android owner use it."

Page 2: free Android software from Sophos.


Sophos has released a pair of free security products for Android.

Sophos Mobile Security has been updated with provision for scheduled scans.

The new version also allows contacts in the address book to be authorised to SMS remote commands to the loss/theft mitigation feature of the software.

Options include sounding a loud ring tone (useful if the phone has been misplaced, eg down the back of a sofa), displaying a message for the finder to read, or remotely wiping the device.

Also new from Sophos is an Android version of the Sophos Mobile Encryption app previously offered for iOS.

Sophos Mobile Encryption works with the company's SafeGuard Enterprise Encryption for Cloud Storage module to provide access to files that were encrypted with SafeGuard Enterprise and stored in Dropbox.

The company plans to add support for other cloud storage such as Egnyte and Google Drive in future releases.

"As Android increases its global market share, Android devices and apps are becoming a prime target for data theft and attacks by cybercriminals. It has never been more important for individuals to have security applications on their devices," said Matthias Pankert, vice president, product management, Sophos.

"Our mobile security and encryption apps make it simple for Android users to have secure access to data no matter where it is stored or accessed, and provide organisations with peace of mind if a device is lost or stolen."


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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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