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ICERT in talks with Samsung & Micromax to finalise firewall on Android mobile platform

The Centre’s specialised cyber security agency is reportedly
in final stages of readying a firewall for mobile phones running on the Android
platform, for which it is in talks with the two biggest handset vendors in the
country — Samsung and Micromax, reports the Indian Express.

The Centre’s specialised cyber security agency is reportedly
in final stages of readying a firewall for mobile phones running on the Android
platform, for which it is in talks with the two biggest handset vendors in the
country — Samsung and Micromax, reports the Indian Express.

According to the report, the project for developing the
Android ‘secure wrapper’ is being taken up as a national security initiative as
nearly 50% of the mobiles phone users in the country use the Android platform,
which is considered a more vulnerable system as compared to the operating
systems used by Blackberry or Windows phones on account of being an open source
platform and also the multitude of untested applications (apps) being created
by different groups.

Over the last two years, the cumulative value of the mobile
banking transactions by customer have shot up over 11-folds, tripling the
number of customers using the mobile for banking transactions. Also, in the
wake of the government’s flagship Jan-Dhan Yojana, there is likely to be an
incremental push to the number and volumes of mobile banking customers in the
coming two years.

The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (ICERT), a
body under the department of IT, is creating a patent for the wrapper
technology. A top officer at ICERT told the Indian Express that both Samsung
and the Micromax are “in advanced stages of testing the product currently so
that it can be bundled along with their mobile phones”.

Samsung, though, is already in advanced stage of
launching its own wrapper called Knox, a containerisation technology for
higher-end Samsung Android devices that is meant to create a virtual partition
on Android devices, thereby insulating corporate-managed apps and data from
attack.

Globally, Android controls nearly 80 per cent of the
smartphone market. Spam and malware aimed at Android is reported to have
increased by nearly 63 per cent between 2012 and 2013, according to a report by
ESET. A 2014 Kaspersky Security report had said in that 99 percent of newly
discovered mobile malicious programmes target the Android platform.

In another initiative to safeguard mobile security, the
ICERT is also in the process of tying up with software firms to develop a
‘scanner facility.’

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