Android Security for Embedded Systems

Tuesday, March 12, 2013 @ 02:03 PM gHale


Android remains a popular operating system, but it also remains the most targeted mobile device out there. That is one reason why McAfee unveiled what it calls the industry’s first ever whitelisting solution for Android-based embedded systems.

McAfee Application Control for Android is a security solution that resides in the Android kernel, embedded in the operating system. The McAfee system gives protection from the installation or execution of a malicious application on an Android-based device. It also should provide protection at the application layer to Android devices.

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Android is becoming a favorite platform for embedded engineers. According to a UBM Electronics’ 2012 Embedded Market Study, 13 percent of the embedded engineers surveyed reported using Android in a 2012 project and 34 percent reported they are considering working with Android in 2013. With Android’s success in expanded markets, the operating system is drawing the attention of new attacks.

“As Android kernel has been adopted on core Linux platform, it was a natural ground for us to extend our whitelisting solution capabilities to Android,” said Rishi Bhargava vice president of product management, Embedded Security at McAfee. “As Android continues to grow in its adoption, McAfee is committed to making this platform as secure and trusted as other common embedded developer platforms.”

Previously, embedded engineers had only a single operating system option –Security-Enhanced Linux (SELinux)– if they wanted to have enforceable security capabilities for their embedded system.

Prior to McAfee Embedded Control, Android security applications only operated at the user level, leaving devices vulnerable to system-level attacks. This system blocks unauthorized applications and changes on fixed-function, point-of-service infrastructures, including retail devices, medical devices, industrial control systems, office equipment, gaming devices, automotive, and various military and aerospace devices.



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