aNewDomain — It was the remark heard round the world. Well, at least in the mobile technology world. Remember Apple’s Tim Cook calling the Android ecosystem a “toxic hell stew?” It’s no secret that mobile device security has been a major issue — primarily for Android. But let’s agree that neither Apple nor Windows is immune to security threats.
I spent some time with Mircea Gherlea at MWC 2015 discussing the future of mobile phone security. You see, he’s the project manager at Bitdefender, the next step in a secure Android platform.
Bitdefender for Android is a mobile security app aimed at defending your device with multiple levels of protection. Your smartphones and tablets are vulnerable from various attacks, such as backdoors, spam and spyware, just like your computer. Gherlea demonstrated how Bitdefender handles each of those scenarios.
The private data on your smartphone not only includes your contacts, but it also holds the collected data of all the emails, SMS or data entries inside of other apps you own. Malicious apps are out to get this data and use it for profit. Bitdefender offers a higher level of security by scanning every app on your phone — checking to make sure no other application can force its way into your information. This Bitdefender scan can be run on-demand as well as in the background.
As a preliminary safety check, note the permissions that any app asks of you — you’d be surprised at what most programs are trying to access these days.
Sure there’s HTTPS, which uses SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) encryption, but that’s not enough. There are still nefarious websites that look legitimate. These poisonous sites will pass spyware onto your mobile device, which can leak personal information or keystrokes back to the site. Bitdefender keeps a database of known, unsafe websites and will scan the URL of every site accessed on your mobile device. If a positive match is found, you’re warned to back away or proceed at your own risk.
Sometimes we install an app that we believe is good for our devices, one that deals with antiviruses itself. But this doesn’t always work out for the best. Gherlea showed me a so-called antivirus app for mobile — as you can see below, Bitdefender found it unsafe for use. Scanning all new apps is a clear way to keep your device clean and free of any dangerous programs.
Tampering or Pranksters
If you misplace your smartphone, the Bitdefender app can keep it secured beyond the standard lock screen. If someone tries to get into your mobile device while it’s connected to a data network, the front camera will snap a photo of the person trying to get into your phone. I know there are times my colleagues would try to get into my phone and change the settings or ringtones as a joke. This feature would catch them red-handed, as the captured photo is emailed to the owner of the Bitdefender app. Gotcha!
Bitdefender offers more security options that are noteworthy, such as remote wiping and alerts on your Android Wear devices. All of Bitdefender’s protective services are available for $14.95 per year. Monthly payment options will also be available for the service.
Get the Bitdefender app in the Google Play Store for free, and stay tuned for more live updates from MWC 2015.
All images: Ant Pruitt