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Secunia Enters Mobile Security Market to Protect Android Users against Application Vulnerabilities

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14:15 CET on the 27th February 2013
Entry written by Secunia.

Secunia PSI for Android is released in technology preview today at RSA

Copenhagen, Denmark – February 27, 2013: Secunia, the leading provider of IT security solutions that enable businesses and private individuals to manage and control vulnerability threats, today announced the availability of the Secunia Personal Software Inspector for Android (Secunia PSI for Android) in tech preview. The solution scans Android devices for vulnerable apps.

Secunia is preparing to extend its award-winning vulnerability intelligence and scanning technology to a mobile platform. The solution is developed for Android, the mobile operating system which is by far the most widespread, with a 50% market share globally.
Just like the Secunia PSI for PCs, the Secunia PSI for Android will be free for private users.

Android’s position today is the mobile equivalent to Window’s position 10 years ago: It is the mobile operating system most widely used, and as such the most interesting to those – including cybercriminals - who have ambitions to reach a large audience. Just as on PCs, mobile users are targets of scams to steal data, abuse their devices in botnets, hack bank and social media accounts, and one of the most rewarding mobile crimes: premium SMS scams.

“At Secunia we believe that we will see some repetition from the way threats to PCs have evolved over the past 10 years, in the way the threat landscape on mobile evolves - although at an accelerated pace, since all stakeholders can adapt learning from their PC journey to the mobile journey quite easily,” said Morten R. Stengaard, Secunia’s Director of Product Management and Quality Assurance

Vulnerabilities are the next mobile attack vector
Currently, the primary focus of both criminals and the security industry is on traditional malware – viruses, spyware, etc. But that focus will shift to vulnerabilities.

“First of all, it is easy to find vulnerabilities in apps for mobile. Mobile app development is often untested, rogue territory, and there is a large quantity of flawed code in the programs. The flawed code is the vulnerability criminals exploit. This presence of flawed code can make it easier for a criminal to gain access to a widely used social media app like Facebook via a vulnerability, than it is to trick individual users into installing malware that provides access to a specific social media account. Since social media accounts already have access to much of their users’ data, these accounts are valuable targets,” explained Morten R. Stengaard.

Secondly, and specifically for Android, which is open source, the security vetting of the programs that are being pushed out to users is non-existent. While this is conducive to creativity and speed, it represents a security challenge: Users are required to install security programs to make the mobile a safe place to bank, engage on social media and browse the Internet from.

How does the Secunia Personal Software Inspector for Android work?
Secunia PSI for Android scans all the apps on the Android phone – apps downloaded from Google Play as well as apps from external sources. It alerts the user to apps with known vulnerabilities and whether there are updates which should be deployed for security reasons.

“It is possible to enable the “automatic update” functionality in Google Play - but the updates are not necessarily deployed immediately. The Secunia PSI for Android will serve as a validation mechanism and as assurance that security updates are performed quickly. And, unlike the Android auto-update mechanism, it covers apps that have not been installed via Google Play. This means that if an app from an external source contains vulnerabilities, the update mechanism will not help you,” said Morten R. Stengaard.

Earlier this week, Secunia launched the Secunia SmallBusiness application, a patch management solution for the SOHO/Small Business segment. Together with Secunia for Android, these solutions provide a holistic approach to endpoint vulnerability management for consumers, small businesses, and the mobile worker – all of which align with the company's vision to provide the industry with the most comprehensive vulnerability management solutions.


Read Morten R. Stengaard’s blog
Try the Secunia PSI for Android – download it for free from Google Play




About Secunia
Founded in 2002, Secunia is the leading provider of IT security solutions that help businesses and private individuals globally manage and control vulnerability threats, risks across their networks, and end-points. This is enabled by Secunia’s award-winning Vulnerability Intelligence, Vulnerability Assessment, and Patch Management solutions that ensure optimal and cost-effective protection of critical information assets.
Secunia plays an important role in the IT security ecosystem, and is the preferred supplier for enterprises and government agencies worldwide, counting Fortune 500 and Global 2000 businesses among its customer base. Secunia is headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark.

For more information, please visit secunia.com

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