Defenx PLC (LON:DFX) Chief Financial Officer Philipp Prince caught up with DirectorsTalk to discuss the 900 million Android users at risk of being hacked, what this means to the users and to Defenx and where their product can be purchased from
Q1: Now Philipp, we’ve seen reports in the last few days that up to 900 million Android phone users could be at risk from being hacked, could you talk us through what’s going on there?
A1: Of course. This is really just another, admittedly very big, example of vulnerabilities that are being discovered for mobile devices every day. So on one hand nothing to be worried about but on the other it’s just an increase in the potential routes for hackers to exploit in building malicious apps so bit by bit, it’s increasing exposure we all have to nefarious activity on our mobile devices. For example if we download an app which uses these exploits, this particular one will not ask for any particular permissions so the normal notifications an alert user would get about ‘think before you accept’ wouldn’t appear so this would give hackers a very easy route to install malicious software. What you then need to be worried about is what is that software going to do, what is the app going to do and if it starts to extract personal information like passwords, it then gives hackers the potential to access say banking and financial logins and that’s what people really need to be worried about. There’s also an emerging threat where a malicious app, if it gets onto the phone, can encrypt all of your data and then it asks for payment before unencrypting the data, sometimes they even take the money and run and don’t decrypt it so it’s just increasing the threats that are out there that we all need to be aware of.
Q2: So what does this mean for users?
A2: Well, number one we just need to be aware that hackers are constantly looking for new ways to access information on mobile devices and this is just another route for them so awareness is the number one, Android dominates mobile devices with as much as 90% in many markets and it also allows users to download apps from many places, not of all which are legitimate so just need to be careful. So what I would say to Android users in particular is first, think very carefully about what you download, where you download it from, check reviews and the web to see whether it’s legitimate and then ideally download only from the Google Play Store, this minimises the chances of installing malicious apps. Some will still get through so second, Android users should ensure that they have up to date anti-malware protection installed and then third, they should ensure that they have regular back-ups of all the data on their devices. Taking those three simple steps significantly increases the protection a user has in using their device without significantly affecting the enjoyment they get from it.
Q3: Now obviously a problem like this clearly illustrates the need for products like yours, what does this mean for Defenx PLC?
A3: Well number one we already know within Defenx of the potential vulnerabilities on Android and other devices but what we’re finding is many users don’t yet consider a smart phone or a tablet to be the same as a PC and therefore need protection. So the first thing is we need to get the message out, we need to make sure that people are aware of how to safely use their devices, that’s the first step and of course it’s always nice to have a plug for our software, the Defenx Security Suite will, for example, identify and warn the user about rogue apps whilst they’re being installed but also alert users before permissions are granted that that might allow unnecessary access to personal information by such an app and thirdly, it will block access to certain sites that are known to be infected or used by hackers to distribute malware so it’s added protection if they want to install our app. Our recently launched Defenx Cloud Backup app also ensures that all of the data on a user’s many devices is backed up safely in the Cloud so if something does go wrong they can get it back.
Q4: Brilliant, so it cover those three steps that users should be taking?
Q5: Now Defenx PLC provide software for SME’s and individuals to help protect them against malware and being hacked, where can people buy your products?
A5: Well the safest and best place is to go the Google Play Store, it’s there, it’s available, has a rating and it can be downloaded as an initial free trial, that is what we recommend users do if they want to try and test out our software and then upgrade. You can also have a look at our website www.defenx.com and that will take users through what our software does, what the various options are and you can download it from the web but as I say the recommended route is download it from the Google Play Store, that’s the safest way to do things.