Author Archives: spirozzi

Mobile Malware: In the Wild

Introduction:

According to a recent study conducted by the networking company Juniper, mobile malware is on the rise, and malware found in the wild is targeted almost exclusively toward Android devices.

“Theoretical exploits for [Apple] iOS have been demonstrated, as well as methods for sneaking malicious applications onto the [Apple] iOS App Store,” the report says, but criminals have tended to favor Android as their target, because there is less oversight on the process of releasing applications into the wild” [1].

Running older versions of Android with a lack of consistent update support can significantly increase the risk of a device becoming infected. Users are encouraged to update to a newer version of Android if possible (through each device’s update utility). Continue reading

Do Not Track – An Overview Of Internet Privacy

The Problem

When it comes to privacy on the internet, the user is very often left in the dark regarding how his or her data can be accessed and utilized by third parties. In this context, third parties can refer to “analytics services, advertising networks, and social platforms” [1] that can leverage a myriad of existing web technologies to track the websites you visit. These third parties can then use this information for various purposes such as directing advertisements toward more relevant audiences.

For example, if a website you visited decided they want to track their users’ web history, they could simply slip a clause into the privacy policy of their site (which can be intentionally obfuscated and is very rarely read by users) that would legally allow them to track your web history – even while you’re not on their site!

In an attempt to resolve this informational discrepancy (these third parties are within legal limits, just not fully transparent), the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) proposed a specification known as Do Not Track which “is designed to enable users to opt-out of online tracking” [2]. Continue reading

Android Apps: A General Guide

As the number of Android smartphones sold worldwide continues to increase, so does the number of apps available to users in the Google Play Store. With over 850,000 apps and counting, it can often be a chore to separate the apps worth buying from the junk apps that are hardly worth a penny. What follows is an overview of some general techniques that can be used to discriminate between apps worth paying for and apps that aren’t quite worth the price tag. Continue reading