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Fundamentals of Computing: Literature Review on Mobile Security Software

Question

Write a review of free software for managing information security. Select one of the following options. You must include at least 5 different software tools or products and discuss what each is designed to protect or how it works.

  1. Security on a desktop pc or laptop
  2. Security on a mobile device
  3. Anti virus products
  4. Authentication methodologies
  5. Encrypting data and information
  6. Biometrics.

Answer

Abstract: The essay is about the importance of knowing about various security threats faced by mobile communication device users and the available free software to overcome the threats. The common and unique features of some of the standard security apps are discussed here and the conclusion is that companies cannot completely prevent security threats, and the users have to be alert in using their devices. The users are also required to upgrade their security systems periodically.

Introduction As the mobile usage increases for various financial transactional purposes, the mobile devices are exposed to risks of increased attacks. All mobiles are susceptible to cyber-attack. Most digital security related solution providers agree that it is difficult to prevent security threats to mobile devices. Similar to viruses and spyware that can damage the operating system and data in a PC, there are many other security threats that can upset the mobile devices. The researchers have divided the threats to mobile devices into three major categories i.e. application oriented threats, Internet oriented threats, and network/physical oriented threats. Application oriented threats includes, malware, spyware, privacy threats and vulnerable apps. Internet based threats includes, phishing activities, browser exploits and cookie downloads. Network / physical threats include wi-fi sniffing, network exploits and illegal tampering of mobile device.

The two giant mobile operating system companies the Apple and Android have advanced many security features to their system. Even then the malicious hackers attempt to encroach into mobile devices and run their malware surreptitiously. The operating system companies have limitations to prevent entry of malware into the mobile phone as more number of users is inclined to install apps that have lesser security. Security is the least priority of many app designers and developers and their services have weak security features. For users, the security of their mobile devices is critical, as most of the serious transactions are happening over the mobile phones. It is important for th users to know more about the threats and what the companies are doing to overcome the digital security lapses.

A Review of Standard Mobile Security Software: Among mobile operating systems, Android is the most widely-used platform in the world (Teng, and Wen 2017). Hence, Android phones are the most likely targets of hackers and the users are required to install best security apps and antivirus systems. Because of the popularity of the Android, a Google service, the hackers are thrilled to break its security walls. There are many free security apps available to protect the mobile devices from attack. Some of the popular security tools are discussed below. The following account is a brief description of the free security apps available to the users and it describes the common and unique features of each of the apps.

Avast Mobile security: Avast is an antivirus giant that has experience in the industry for long time. It is much more than an antivirus scanner (Pieterse, and Olivier, 2013). For a mobile device, the Avast can block unwanted calls, provide a firewall to the data stored in the mobile and help the user to with anti-theft protocol. The user will be able to lock the phone or wipe out critical data when the dive is stolen or is missing.

The Avast app is available for free as well as paid version. The paid version is loaded with extra features. Since the company s investing to protect the users’ device, the free offer is supported by ads, i.e. user will be exposed to ads frequently. For a small monthly or yearly payment, the user can remove the ad insertions in the messages.

A very useful feature of the Avast mobile security app is the control app provided. Before opening certain apps, the device will prompt the user to input PIN. Without the specific PIN, the app will not be opened and the illegitimate user will not be able to retrieve the data in the moble equipment. Avast mobile app runs automatic scans, and try to prevent malicious cookies, web pages and apps to load into the device. The Avast security app can be downloaded from a specific site and the user has the choice to upgrade the service for payment. Some of the features of Avast Security include the following.

  • Block viruses and malwares
  • Block unsolicited mails and phishing attempts
  • Secure passwords with unique encryption technology

BitFinder: It has a tremendous reputation in security community and is considered as light weight tool, because it uses minimal resources of the mobile device, free s up system resources, and enhances the power saving / battery life (Valceanu et al 2016). The installed security software will scan apps software whenever they are downloaded. The Bit Finder is a plug and play mode tool, it can be used as soon as it is downloaded into the mobile; no configuration is required. There is a smart watch feature which monitors all traffic in the mobile.

The major advantages of this tool is it uses minimal resources of the device, and easy to set up; but the user have to schedule the virus scans, because the tool do not automatically scan he device periodically. Some of the key features of the security tool are given below.

Account Privacy: This feature of the product will keep watch on the privacy and any attempt to breach will be notified to the user. Only with valid password and security checks the user can get into the email account.

App Lock: This feature allows the user to surf in the social media without worries about security issues. When unauthorized persons attempt to access the PIN the system will give a 30 second black out and to strengthen the security, the tool has a facility to store finger print and enable access based on the finger print.

Anti- Theft feature: The Anti-Theft facility allows the user to remotely locate the missing device and lock the access to the files. It also allows the user to wipe out the data and alert the Android service center. The tool has a facility to capture the picture of the person trying to tamper with the phone.

AVL:Anti AVL has won several awards for its useful security features. It is acknowledged in the security community that it has the best protective systems for a mobile device (Yang et al 2015). One of the unique features of this facility is that it has an antivirus database with a scanner to detect any type of executable file that tries to encroach into the system. It provides radar like system which frequently alerts the user about the impending threats.

It has the usual feature of call blocking, prevention of unsolicited calls, anti-phishing system, blocking harmful sites, and alerting the user about the nature of the app or site. This software is also a light weight product. The key features of the security tool include the following.

  • The AVL provides overall protection of the devices
  • It is light in usage of resources (especially in saving battery life)
  • It has various levels of call blocking features

McAfee Security: McAfee is popular security software used in PC, android mobile devices. Customers say that McAfee does not disappoint them. As in other security tools McAfee has an antivirus system, tracking tool for lost or stolen device, remote control of the access to data, and taking a mug shot picture of the person who tampers with the phone. McAfee can block unwanted calls, mails, messages, etc. and prevent the loading of malicious websites.

McAfee Mobile Security tool thus protects and enhances any Android device such as phone, tablet or laptop. It provides the users with SMS backup, contacts protection and tracking of threats.

Some unique features of the security tool are given below (Hong et al 2017).

  • The McAfee blocks all malicious sites
  • The user can add many anti-theft features
  • Monitors the installed apps and checks for data leakage
  • Capturecam that allows the device to take snap of the intruder
  • Various performance optimizers are available for the system such as memory clean up, battery optimizer, etc.

One of the disadvantages of the free McAfee system is that it is supported by ads. The user is bound to see unwanted ads while using the mobile device.

Kaspersky Mobile Antivirus: Kaspersky has reputation on par with Avast, BitFinder, etc. There are many impressive features to the free version of mobile security apps. Because of its experience in defending digital resources, it has many common and unique features (Clarke, Symes, Saevanee, and Furnell, 2016). The common features include identification of malware, blocking of malicious sites, preventing malicious links from the screen. More than cure to the damaged device, the Kaspersky software focuses on the prevention aspect. Some of the unique features Kaspersky include the following.

  • The system can sniff out the stealthiest malware
  • The tool can not only block malware sites, but also harmful links
  • Block viruses
  • Scan Wi-Fi security weakness
  • Secure the users passwords
  • Block hackers with advanced firewall

Discussion and Conclusion: Many mobile users consider that mobile device security is exposed to fewer security risks than a PC and many are not aware of the consequences of a besieged mobile device. Malicious software that can encroach into a mobile device can lead to serious personal losses such as misuse of bank accounts, phishing, etc. It is critical for the users to be alert about the security risks and take necessary actions (Omar 2017).

Companies that make the security tools agree that it is really hard to protect the entire range of treats, because the risk is not focused on to one aspect; it is fragmented. They recommend some common steps to prevent security breaches. First is to install a security system in every mobile device from a known service provider. Second is to update the software regularly, o that the latest threats also can be avoided. The search engines of Google and other social sites are not capable of preventing threats; hence all mobile users must have distinct apps for mitigating security threats. It is all about precautions and alertness about the digital security risks.

References
Clarke, N., Symes, J., Saevanee, H. and Furnell, S., 2016. Awareness of mobile device security: a survey of user's attitudes. International Journal of Mobile Computing and Multimedia Communications (IJMCMC), 7(1), pp.15-31.

Hong, S., Park, S., Park, L.W., Jeon, M. and Chang, H., 2017. An analysis of security systems for electronic information for establishing secure internet of things environments: Focusing on research trends in the security field in South Korea. Future Generation Computer Systems.

Omar, S., 2017. Information system security threats and vulnerabilities: evaluating the human factor in data protection(Doctoral dissertation).

Pieterse, H. and Olivier, M.S., 2013, August. Security steps for smartphone users. In Information Security for South Africa, 2013 (pp. 1-6). IEEE.

Teng, S.Y. and Wen, C.Y., 2017. A Study on Common Android Emulators and Anti-Forensic Message-Hiding Applications. Forensic Science Journal, 16(1), pp.1-11.

Valceanu, V., Burceanu, E., Gavrilut, D.T., Axinte, T., Bordianu, V. and Benchea, R.M., Bitdefender IPR Management Ltd, 2016. Privacy protection for mobile devices. U.S. Patent 9,292,694.

Yang, T., Yang, Y., Qian, K., Lo, D.C.T., Qian, Y. and Tao, L., 2015, August. Automated detection and analysis for android ransomware. In High Performance Computing and Communications (HPCC), 2015 IEEE 7th International Symposium on Cyberspace Safety and Security (CSS), 2015 IEEE 12th International Conferen on Embedded Software and Systems (ICESS), 2015 IEEE 17th International Conference on (pp. 1338-1343). IEEE.

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