Trend Micro, a global cloud security leader, today announced a technology breakthrough for application users. Mobile App Reputation is the first technology in the industry that can automatically identify, analyse and rate mobile applications for issues that could include malware, potential theft of private data and system resource abuse including battery, memory, and bandwidth.
Similar to Google Bouncer Service which is focused on malware detection in Google’s Android Market, Trend Micro’s Mobile App Reputation analyses additional mobile app attributes and also works with 3rd party Android app stores. Additionally, Bouncer is analysing for malicious code within apps, whereas Trend Micro is analysing not only for malicious code but also privacy risks and system resource consumption.
“Google Bouncer Service is a great first step toward getting additional security control over the Google App Store so we applaud Google. But we still need to see security measures for all the other Android App stores,” commented Raimund Genes, CTO, Trend Micro, in response to Google’s recent announcement.
According to Research2Guidance, there were more than 500,000 applications published on the Android Market in September 2011 (1). Trend Micro threat research experts identified more than 1000 malicious Android apps in 2011 with that number growing at an astounding rate of 60 per cent month over month. In 2012, Trend Micro threat researchers estimate the number of malicious Android apps will grow to more than 120,000.
In addition, according to Google, the Android Market exceeded 10 billion app downloads with a growth rate of one billion app downloads per month as of December 2011 (2). Clearly, this is a fast growing marketplace both for legitimate app developers and cyber criminals.
“We have been working in the mobile space for many years, so using our recognised expertise in cloud security to protect the mobile ecosystem is a logical progression. The flexible nature of this technology allows for many possibilities both now and in the future — potential 3rd party app market and product integrations are just some of the short- term initiatives we are working on,” said Genes.
“We already provide our technology to 3rd party app stores who are looking for an automated procedure to vet the applications they want to distribute. Integration of mobile application reputation could help to protect their users, while also helping them to provide upfront information about potential security, privacy and resource impact of certain apps before they are downloaded.” Initially scanning Android and Symbian applications, the technology will continue to add scanning of additional platforms over time. “We currently track and monitor over 250,000 applications, and have the capacity to add another 5,000+ per day as new apps and app updates are released. Our intent is to be able to provide the largest and fastest source of critical information to secure and enhance the mobile ecosystem. Obviously other application platforms are important to this goal,” added Genes.
Trend Micro is already a recognised leader in cloud-based reputation technologies which contribute to the company’s revolutionary cloud based Smart Protection Network infrastructure, protecting millions of users from threats posed by malicious websites, emails and files. This innovative core technology can be broadly leveraged across Trend Micro's comprehensive set of enterprise and consumer products with unique benefits to end users, enterprises, app developers, network operators, and app store providers.
By analysing the underlying code and the websites that the app connects to, and by dynamically analysing the app behaviour, Trend Micro can correlate the information found with the vast amount of security information already at its disposal to identify and block potentially dangerous and resource-hogging mobile apps.
Users of Trend Micro’s mobile security solutions for both consumers and corporations are already seeing the benefit of mobile application reputation, with faster updates to protection against the increasing amount of Android-based threats.
Consumers can download a free Android malware scanner at https://market.android.com/details?id=com.trendmicro.tmmspersonal While businesses can find out more about Trend Micro’s mobile security solutions at http://www.trendmicro.com/us/enterprise/product-security/index.html