Android architecture continues to expose concerns


The days of losing a phone and only losing your mobile contacts are long gone. Nowadays your smartphone is your 'ilife' and it (and the network) collects (logs) data not only from text messages, emails and calls, but your Facebook and Twitter profiles as well and much much more. I’d go as far as to say mobile technology is revolutionising the way we all live and work. I’m sure none of my readers will dispute this.

So what is all the fuss about Android malware? Some technology analysts claim the mobile AV vendors are scaremongering, I’m not one of those who thinks its scaremongering. Mobile malware will evolve from the standard PRS/rogue app/phishing URL threat vector given time and some of us will look back and say ‘I told you so’. I think it will mirror the desktop malware curve. Here is why....

Malware writers will need to wait to establish the lead mobile OS platforms to compile on - after all they work to budgets too :). I’ll stick my head on the line and say that Android (regardless of whether it is gingerbread or ice cream sandwich) and Windows Phone 7 will be the main OS targets (the latter is dependent on Nokia getting it’s act together, which I believe with Microsoft ad dollars it will do so). So, what are the real security issues facing Google Android?

Android is a particular target given that the Dalvik VM (even though this is a sandbox as part of Android Runtime) allows apps (which are all sandboxed - thumbs up here) to interact with one another using ‘intents’ or what we call remote procedure calls (RPC). My main worry here has to be what if someone finds a vulnerability in the Linux kernel that allows a user to run as the system? (think rooted device here) - it’s certainly possible and has been done. Big concern? Absolutely yes. Read more...

February 3, 2012
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