McAfee, SAP Making Android Safer for BYOD Workplaces

McAfee, the computer and mobile security company owned by Intel, has upped the ante on malware.  With the launch of Mobile Security 2.0, McAfee is creating a security measure beyond virus protection. McAfee 2.0 is available for Android-based smartphones and tablets. The openness and weakness of security in the Android market has prompted McAfee to add a feature called App Alert that will provide information about how device applications are using the user’s personal information.  Currently, the Android Market gives information to users about the type of information used by applications, but this new feature will check whether a downloaded app requests access to personal information including contacts, and subsequently warns the user.

McAfee has also added some good features, like call and SMS filtering, enabling users to block unwanted calls and spam texts.

“At its core, Mobile Security 2.0 scans and cleans malicious code from files, memory cards, applications, downloads, text messages, and attachments,” according to McAfee. “They can also remotely wipe data on their phone and the removable memory card. To ensure that nothing is lost, a backup can be made before everything is deleted, according to McAfee. To find the phone, users can view the device’s location on a map, send an SMS to prompt its return, and use a remote alarm to help find it,” McAfee said.

In addition to Android, Mobile Security 2.0 is also available for BlackBerry OS and Symbian users, but without the App Alert feature. While the software costs $29.99 for new users, existing subscribers can download the updated software for free.

Making Android safer for the enterprise

Android’s open platform provides enough security headaches for the average consumer. You can imagine what kind of trouble Android’s OS brings to company’s IT networks and administrators!  As Android OS loses out to BlackBerry OS and even iOS in the enterprise sector, third party companies are finding ways to secure Android for the workplace.

Cellrox announced that SAP Labs is piloting their BYOD solution for Android, allowing enterprise employees to securely access both corporate and personal virtual environments from their mobile devices.

“We are excited SAP selected Cellrox for their BYOD pilot,” Omar Eiferman, CEO of Cellrox, said in a statement. “When we designed our solutions, we took into account both the corporate and the user needs. Corporations want to accommodate the BYOD trend by they face grave security risks. Corporate employees, on the other hand, want to enjoy the BYOD trend but without compromising device performance, user experience, or their privacy.”

Working on lightweight devices like tablets has become a common practice for employees in enterprises. A recent Cisco study revealed that employees who do not have tablets issued by the company tend to bring their own.  This trend contributes to the rise of virtual “officing” and mobile workers—which are abundantly driving IT enterprise administrators wild. This is prompting companies to launch BYOD arrangements of their own, ensuring the safety of their network and devices alike.

For deeper insight to the dark side of networking, here’s some key findings from the Cisco Global Threat Report for 4Q11, containing threat intelligence data based on its observation of the malicious threat landscape. Here are the notable summary points of this report:

  • Enterprise users experienced an average of 339 Web malware encounters per month in 4Q11
  • An overall average of 362 Web malware encounters per month occurred throughout 2011
  • The highest rate of encounters occurred during September and October 2011 at 698 and 697 on average per enterprise, respectively
  • An average of 20,141 unique Web malware hosts were encountered per month in 2011, compared to a monthly average of 14,217 in 2010
  • During 4Q11, 33 percent of Web malware encountered was zero-day malware not detectable by traditional signature-based methodologies at the time of encounter
  • The rate of SQL injection signature events remained fairly steady throughout 4Q11, with a slight decrease observed as the quarter progressed
  • Denial-of-service events increased slightly over the course of 4Q11
  • Global spam volumes continued to decline throughout 2011

About Isha Suri

Isha Suri is a staff writer for SiliconANGLE covering social news and security trends. If you have a story idea or news tip, send it to @SiliconAngle on Twitter.