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Security Advisor for Android

FAQ

Android app on Google Play Move into the 21st century of computer security. Signature based methods such as anti-virus, anti-malware, and anti-spyware offered good enough security in the past, but today many attacks are not stopped by these methods. For example, a vulnerable PDF reader could allow installation of key-logging or form grabbing software, like Zeus, to steal your banking login data or one-time authentication pass codes. Malware like Zeus is very hard to stop with anti-virus or anti-malware programs because of its frequently changing signature files, and once it's installed it's difficult to detect and remove.

What's the answer? Security experts say that the best approach is to make sure your installed apps and operating system are not vulnerable to attacks or malicious software. The Australian Defense Signals Directorate proved that over 85% of all known attacks can be prevented by four techniques, two of which include making sure that your device has all of the latest updates. See link below, for details. The analogy of locking the barn door before the horse leaves, is very appropriate.

This is where Belarc's Security advisor comes in. It automatically checks your Android tablet or phone for over 300 security vulnerabilities, and counting, in both the operating system and installed apps, and gives you the result in seconds as to which ones are vulnerable and need to be updated.

For more information about modern security practices, we suggest you take a look at the following:

Belarc has also published white papers on IT security, including "Securing the Enterprise" and "Mapping the NIST security controls". For a copy please send an email to whitepapers@belarc.com

FAQ

Q: How is the Security Advisor different from anti-virus, anti-malware or anti-spyware products?

A: Anti-virus, etc. uses signature files which identify the security threats. While this worked somewhat in the past, it's pretty ineffective against today's threats which can change much faster than anti-virus products can update their signature files.

Belarc's Security Advisor is based on discovering and helping you update the existing vulnerabilities, both apps and operating system, and thereby not allowing the security threats to affect your Android device. This works no matter how often the threat signatures change.

Northwestern University released a study on the effectiveness of the major Android anti-malware programs, and found that all were ineffective against even simple changes to the malware. For details, "Evaluating Android Anti-malware against Transformation Attacks (PDF)".

Q: Does the Security Advisor work with other security apps?

A: Yes, the Security Advisor does not interfere or impact the performance of any other security or other app on your device.

Q: How do I check for the latest vulnerabilities?

A: Belarc will offer new versions of the Security Advisor with the latest vulnerabilities on approximately a monthly basis. You can get the latest version by allowing your Security Advisor to be updated. In the future we plan to offer the latest vulnerability feeds through an in-app update.

Q: Why can't Google and Belarc update my Android device?

A: There clearly is confusion about how updates work in the Android arena. The Security Advisor will tell you which of your installed apps are vulnerable and point you to updates, if they are available. For Android vulnerabilities you will need to contact your carrier (phone company) and device manufacturer to see if they have an update available. This is because each of the carriers with the help of the device manufacturers, have customized the device with their settings and built-in apps. Google is only peripherally involved in this update process, unless you have a Google controlled Nexus device.

Please feel free to send your Security Advisor scan results to your carrier and device manufacturer when you ask them about updates. You can send the scan results by selecting Share/Email.

For additional information, please contact us:
Belarc, Inc.
Tel: +1-978-461-1100
Email: info@belarc.com

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