Android security flaws leaves brands, consumers thinking ahead

by Kristen Nicole

Security is a matter of increasing importance for mobile devices. Apps have shown us the good and bad sides of new technology, and savvy consumers are becoming more aware of the implications. For Google (GOOG), security is an important factor on both sides of Android’s equation, as we saw with its recent patch for the data-leaking ClientLogin API, and even the DRM-related block put on rooted Android devices, protecting copyright holders through YouTube movie rentals.

The discussion around mobile security got pretty heated after Google and Apple (AAPL) were asked before the Senate, holding both OS operators accountable for their consumer data collection methods and data use. The rising concern around security and consumer privacy has presented a uniquely gratifying opportunity for mobile security companies, finding justification and even a bit of free marketing for their products.

Mobile security companies anticipate consumer concerns

Lookout Mobile Security co-founder Kevin Mahaffey thinks the Senate hearing is a step in the right direction, though it’s early to make any conclusions on the matter. “There’s a lot of good, healthy consideration, raising the issue in people’s mind,” Mahaffey says. While a healthy level of caution is good, Lookout feels it’s important to deal with the issue now, rather than later. “You shouldn’t have to be a security expert,” Mahaffey goes on, noting Lookout’s stance on thinking ahead of mobile security.

Android’s security flaws certainly have garnered the attention of consumers and companies, encouraging us all to look ahead of current security offerings. Zenprise, a company that provides server management and security for the enterprise, is applying its early lessons to the mobile realm as well. Launching a Secure Mobile Gateway today, Zenprise combines a business app store, white- and black-listing capabilities and a network “checkpoint” to businesses. The solution enables employees to use their personal or company-owned devices however they see fit, while allowing the company network to protect itself from malware or other potential threats, which can sneak through even reputable brands through Android apps.