Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A story about Androids

Albertus Magnus was a prolific priest in the thirteenth century, which cultivate theology, philosophy, geology, chemistry, astrology, engineering and even though he probably never knew. It is said that he shared a house with a talking head and a manufactured device that was able to move by itself. The first android known in history. It was recovered by the writer Auguste Villiers on his book “L'Ève future”, and it would eventually become common in our society.


The Android mobile operating system monopolizes the market, and has every chance to do the same in the IoT and gadgets ones. Nevertheless this attracts bad boys, as evidenced by a recent study by Kaspersky Lab and INTERPOL following the malware research they both carried out between August 2013 and July 2014. 60% of malware targeting mobile devices is aimed to financial theft, either by stealing bank credentials, either by sending premium SMS, either by extortion.

Precisely Koler ramsonware is related to this third type. A new version of Koler is spreading via text messages. The infected device sends messages to contacts on your phonebook with a shortened URL pointing to a dropbox account where the ransomware is downloaded. As soon as it is active it locks the device’s screen, disabling the APP manager and thus preventing that the user can get rid of it. At this point, the victim can only ask for help to a professional or pay the ransom, which may or may not solve his problem.

Androids are fashionable. One day they are on the criminals’ spotlight and the next day the NSA authorizes the use of Samsung devices in the US government. Why? The reason may be found on Samsung’s KNOX service, an MDM that allows the organization to control what it is the use of each worker’s device. It also allows remote updates, to create separate partitions for work and personal user profiles and to prevent files leakage by both user’s or mismanagement and external attacks.

Google’s OS has gone so far in part because of its open nature. Android’s free version AOSP strictly follows the open source philosophy and most of Internet protocols. To keep this culture is vital for the future of an open network where information travel in any direction at the same speed, where small businesses are able to become big if they do things right. For this reason you should have a look to the Internet Rights Bill that Italy is drafting to protect themselves from the end of net neutrality.

We are living an incredible time. Security awareness is growing on cyberspace. Two-steps authentication is not only for the most paranoid users anymore. It is a necessary reality. Under this prism, several methodologies are emerging. Two factor authentication usually based on both knowledge (of a password so often) and possession (of a code sent by SMS to your cell phone or got by an app). From now on Google will offer the possibility of using a USB to make this automatically. So in order to access any of Google’s services, you should know our password and keep the USB on hand to identify yourself.

And here you have an infographic about "real" zombies, coming on a few days before Halloween. Well, these zombies are not (only) infected devices taking part on a botnet, but technological zombies, who are unable to see beyond their smartphones, who compulsively check their notifications... Do you feel identified with any of them?

Hopefully you don’t :-)

Image by RoboCup2013 courtesy of Flickr (EN).

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