A phone application that threatens security

A phone application that threatens security.

London: A cheap mobile phone application that can track the precise location of passenger aircraft in the sky can be a serious terrorist threat, security experts have claimed and called for its immediate ban.

The Plane Finder AR application, developed by a British firm for the Apple iPhone and Google’s Android, allows users to point their phone at the sky and see the position, height and speed of nearby aircraft.

The new application works by intercepting the so-called Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcasts (ADS-B) transmitted by most passenger aircraft to a new satellite tracking system that supplements or, in some countries, replaces radar.

Apparently the ADS-B transmits all this information in clear text. If this information can be used to aid terrorists, why is it not encrypted? Don’t blame the developer. Blame the people who built the ADS-B system!!

Is there a need for mobile anti-malware

With the increasing popularity of mobile devices like iPhones and Android-based phones, we are beginning to see targeted malware, raising the question, do we need anti-malware for our mobile devices? ReadWriteWeb Enterprise was prompted to write an article on this topic as a result of the Android game Tap Snake which was reported to be spyware.

It appears the mobile anti-malware market is fairly immature:

I took to the opportunity to test a few of the anti-malware apps available on the market: antivirus free from droidSecurity, Lookout, Symantec‘s Norton Mobile Security for Android beta, and Smobile. I was also going to try SmrtGuard, but I couldn’t get the app to activate before Tap Snake was removed from Android Market. Of those four apps, only one detected Tap Snake as a potential threat.

The article goes on to say that tightly controlling what apps can be loaded onto mobile devices may all enterprises need at this time.

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Time for security protection on smartphones?

Critical vulnerabilities appearing in both iPhones and Android phones point to the need for third party security products.

Apparently Juniper and McAfee think so. Juniper recently announced that it was acquiring SMobile Systems for $70 million. McAfee acquired TenCube. Another product in this space is Lookout.

Finally, which operating system do you think is more secure? Do you prefer closed vs. open source? Here is a recent article from Network World discussing this issue.