Scouting for technology trends, I attended the Mobile World Congress (MWC) exhibition 2017. Even though Barcelona, Spain is itself an amazing place to visit, this event, with over 2,000 exhibitors, really pulls you in. Whilst the media usually focuses on latest smartphone presentations and a bit about connected driving, I wanted to see how consumers will live in tomorrow’s […]
Mobile World Congress is the largest gathering of the mobile industry and takes place at the end of February every year. According to the latest attendance numbers, it was bigger and more attended than any previous congress. Every possible brand associated with smartphones you can think of was there and even some of the brands you may not know but they provide the stuff to make it all work behind the scenes.
There is a dramatic change afoot in this industry and it’s clear to see at MWC. The focus of this year’s show is very much about the Internet of Things (IoT). Most of us consider this to mean fitness trackers, a few connected fridges, and maybe for the select few, a car.
IoT is going to affect all of us in ways that we can’t yet imagine — everything will be connected and adding data to a world that will operate based on the analysis of everything around us. This may sound like a science-fiction movie, it’s not. There’s technology on its way that really does mean that there are very few things that won’t be connected.
What was hot at this year’s MWC 2016?
There is a device for tracking everything from fitness to air quality. While they’re exciting toys and gadgets for us to own and play with, the bigger story is how these stepping stones are being placed for a far more connected world. We continually hear about self-driving cars and other cool innovations, but for many of us these are still news stories rather than reality. One such company is Seat’s connected car tech that allows drivers to check the availability of parking spaces, access breakdown services and connect to household appliances.
Do you ever leave home in the morning having missed a tooth when brushing? With Oral-B’s smart toothbrush it will be a thing of the past! A smartphone app connects to the toothbrush and detects which teeth are still dirty.
Visa announced their new payment system, the Visa Ready program, which will allow transactions to be made from any suitable connected device. For anyone traveling through London recently, they may have seen people waving their phones on the tube payment terminals to pay for their trip. With the new service from Visa, this facility will be extended to other devices and use tokens rather than card details. This means that personal data is never transmitted in a similar way that Apple Pay and Android Pay work and should be considered a security enhancement over the current process.
Honda has already signed up to the program to use an in-car fuel app that will be integrated into their vehicles dashboards. Once the car is running low on fuel the driver will be automatically be directed to the nearest gas station. The app will know the exact amount of fuel needed and pay for the fuel and calculate the cost. Of course, this does mean the pump needs to accept wireless payments and you will still need to get out and actually put the fuel hose into the car.
A technology that has been heard about for years is about to become both affordable and usable, and will soon establish itself as a normal part of our lives. I was lucky enough to get a full hands-on demo of Intel’s RealSense™ virtual reality technology that is being made available to developers in the next few months.
Put the headset on and be immersed in a virtual world where you can actually interact using your hands. Yes, they actually appear in the virtual world allowing you to move objects and to be part of what you are seeing. Or allow the headset to map, in real-time, the environment you are in and to add things to it — you can mix our physical world with a virtual one. For example using the demo headset I scanned a table and then a cat jumped up onto it. I moved away and the cat jumped off the table. The possibilities for this technology in our normal lives, especially if you are a gamer, are really exciting and I can’t wait to see them realized.
There is a common concern with all the new IoT devices and cool services that they deliver, that is one of security. With every connected device a new opportunity is created for hackers to attempt to breach the device and access your personal data. While many device manufacturers may create their products using a ‘secure by design’ approach, this may not be the case with the small innovative companies that have the hottest technology.
Privacy has been part of the Mobile Security discussion for some time now. In fact, privacy and security were both highlighted as one of the top five themes at Mobile World Congress (MWC) this year.
We and many other security providers have been offering privacy tools (like our HMA Pro VPN) for a while, however the focus and discussion around privacy was heightened this week. It was partially spurred by the Apple/FBI iPhone security discussion but was more robust than just that single (albeit interesting) data point.
There was a great turnout to both the Putting Privacy at the Core of Digital panel and to our partner event focused on Mobile Security Threats. At the panel there was a consensus that the “war on privacy” was reaching a boiling point. More and more users are becoming aware of the trade-offs and looking to take action. We can see this in the uptake of Ad Blockers, which is partly motivated by privacy, and also from numerous studies showing increased awareness.
It is well known that people will share their data in exchange for services. The issue is that not all of the sharing is known, transparent, or controllable. Services from Meeco are working to make the tradeoffs more accessible to users; Telefonica labs have some interesting tools under development, and Facebook continues to build their products around core privacy principles. Given AVG’s position in the ecosystem, we often see the less desirable sides of unintended sharing. While our VPN and privacy tools are a great start, we have more work to do, both in educating users and with giving them more control.
Whether or not a “personal data economy” will evolve is still an open question, but the experimentation around the idea is very healthy. I emphasized that we need to make solutions much easier for consumers and that providers need to embrace a federated and distributed structure – basically, the ability for end users to move their data and their “trust provider” at will, without a lot of friction.
At our event titled, “Mobile Threats: Fact or Fiction”, Telefonica, Verizon, TCL, and Sony presented their views of mobile security and privacy, and then we participated in a panel discussion. Network providers are in an interesting position in that they see a lot of data and also have regulatory checks and balances in place. With the balance between those two, they have the opportunity to become “trust brokers” for their user bases.
Consumer product development companies are looking to build privacy controls deeper into their products, and ensure that permissions and data flows make sense for users. Of course, with the Internet of Things (IoT) we end up with a plethora of operating systems, connectivity options, data flows, and business models. With no standardization in sight, security companies will have to develop comprehensive solutions that can address issues across many different technologies. In order to act on all of this IoT data, security solutions need to be in the data flow. AVG’s relationships with carriers, combined with our VPN and our work in router solutions, puts us in that prime position.
There is a general consensus that users will not adopt IoT as quickly if security and privacy are not addressed, and rightly so. It is a complicated problem, spanning identity, authentication, malware, permissions, and data usage. We do not yet have a good framework for looking at all of these, but there are encouraging signs within each specific area, so that better protection is in sight.
Banking, shopping, email. We do things on our phones that used to only be done on our desktop PC. Hackers know valuable data is stored on people’s phones, and they increasingly find new ways to attack mobile users.
These devices have information on them that is valuable to hackers
The most common mobile threats are adware packaged as fun gaming apps that provide little value and spams users with ads. SMS attacks are malware which sends unauthorized premium SMS or makes premium-service phone calls. This results in a large monthly bill for the user and a significant source of revenue for cybercrooks.
The most aggressive malware is mobile ransomware. Simplocker was the first Android ransomware to encrypt user files, and now there are thousands of variations that make it nearly impossible to recover the encrypted data on a smartphone.
Privacy is an issue with vulnerabilities such as Certifi-gate and Stagefright, both of which can be exploited to spy on users. Certifi-gate put approximately 50 percent of Android users at risk, and Stagefright made nearly 1 billion Android devices vulnerable to spyware.
Avast protects mobile devices from malware
Avast Mobile Security for Android scans mobile devices and secures them against infected files, phishing, malware, and spyware. The app provides people with the most advanced mobile malware protection available, now even faster with Avast’s leading cloud scanning engine. Install Avast Mobile Security for free!
Avast protects from unsecure Wi-Fi networks
Because cybercrooks take advantage of unsecure routers and Wi-Fi hotspots, we added Wi-Fi Security which notifies the user when connecting to an unsecure router. The user quickly identifies the security level of Wi-Fi hotspots and can evaluate the risks and decide whether to disconnect or use a VPN instead.
Avast protects user privacy
Privacy concerns range from permission-hungry apps to nosy children. Avast Mobile Security’s Privacy Advisor informs the user about what data apps have access to and ad networks included within apps. To defend their personal data against prying eyes, users can now lock an unlimited number of apps on their device using the App Locking feature.
New machine learning-powered malware detection technology identifies zero-day and transformational malware threats at the processor level.
Avast Software was selected by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. as the lead mobile security service to integrate Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ Smart Protect, a behavioral analysis-based, anti-malware technology that utilizes technology from the Qualcomm® Zeroth™ Machine Intelligence Platform to detect mobile malware threats to smartphone security and personal privacy in real-time. Qualcomm Technologies and Avast will be demonstrating this mobile security solution at Mobile World Congress next week in Barcelona.
Mobile malware is on the rise
Avast currently has over two million malicious samples in its mobile threat detection database. Every day, Avast detects 12,000 new, unique mobile malware samples and each quarter about 15% of mobile users worldwide encounter mobile malware.
With the growing use of mobile devices and the valuable data they contain, malware developers increasingly target mobile users. One example of mobile malware is ransomware, which locks a device or the data on it and demands a ransom to unlock the device. Adware is also spreading on mobile. Adware often comes in the form of a gaming or entertainment app that seems harmless, but what users are unaware of is that the adware is using their infected device to click on ads. In 2015, Avast also detected new forms of mobile spyware which intrude on users’ privacy and collect their data. In addition to mobile malware, potential exploits in the Android operating system such as Stagefright put users at risk.
“With threats increasing every day, OEMs and mobile operators need to protect their users in real-time,” said Gagan Singh, president of mobile at Avast. “Snapdragon Smart Protect provides security at the processor level, which is designed to improve customer privacy and protect them from rogue applications, zero day attacks, and ransomware. We are proud to have worked with Qualcomm Technologies on this effort.”
“Snapdragon Smart Protect is engineered to support real-time, accurate detection of zero-day and transformed mobile malware,” says Sy Choudhury, senior director of product management, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “The combination of Qualcomm Technologies’ dynamic, behavior-based malware analysis of Snapdragon Smart Protect and the core malware analysis delivered by Avast enables very powerful and comprehensive security and privacy protection for device users.”
Traditional security software is limited to scanning and monitoring software behavior at the application layer level. Snapdragon Smart Protect utilizes Qualcomm Technologies’ Zeroth machine learning technology to detect and classify a broader range of mobile malware at the processor level to achieve an even higher level of protection. While consumers will benefit from better protection, OEMs and mobile operators will benefit from reducing the risk of data leakage and malware attacks for their users.
Snapdragon Smart Protect is available to handset OEMs now on the Snapdragon 820 processor, and is expected to be supported by additional Snapdragon SoCs later this year. The first commercial devices with Snapdragon Smart Protect are expected in the first half of 2016.
Part of the Avast team was reunited again at the Mobile World Congress, in Barcelona, to show our new apps: Avast Battery Saver, Avast GrimeFighter and Avast SecureMe, and also other popular apps like Avast Mobile Security and Avast SecureLine.
Jude McColgan, president of Mobile, and Filip Chitry, malware analyst, came from our office in Prague with Petra, Jindra, Zdeněk, Jakub, Petr, Juraj and Farid. Daniel Cheng, Head of Worldwide Mobile Sales and Marketing, came from our offices in Hong Kong and Sung Lyong, came from South Korea. I didn’t travel as I’m working at the host city, the beautiful city of Barcelona. Have you ever been in Barcelona? You should try the famous tapas, walk around Las Ramblas and visit La Sagrada Familia. Feel free to ask us for some recommendations on Twitter!
The Avast team arrived the weekend before the Mobile World Congress in order to build up our beautiful and colorful booth, located at the Hall 5, booth 5K29. After one day of exhausting work, the booth was ready to receive all the visitors and the journalists. The booth was really cool, right?
Everything started on monday. Tens of thousands of people came to the Mobile World Congress, located in Hospitalet de Llobregat (“What are you talking about? The MWC is in Barcelona!” Well, not really, the MWC is located in the second largest city of Catalonia, Hospitalet, next to Barcelona) where besides learning some security tips from the Avast team and learning about our new apps, the visitors were able to see what’s new on the mobile industry, like new smartphones, new wearables, new tablets, etc…
The following days were really successful. A lot of people came to our booth to meet the team and, of course, our new apps.
Not only visitors, a lot of journalists from all around the world and from different media, from TV channels to tech blogs, came to our booth. Nobody wanted to miss our new apps and our impressive hacking experiment! Everyone was impressed after knowing how, with Avast Battery Saver, you can save up to 7 hours of battery and, of course, after watching our live hacking experiment, where everyone was able to see how important a good security solution is while using a public Wi-Fi.
The whole team was really satisfied with the results achieved at the Mobile World Congress. The feedback received from the visitors was really positive and of course it will help us to improve our top rated security solutions.
Do you want to know what Filip Chitrý, malware analyst at Avast, and Jindra Pistkova, mobile marketing specialist, said about the Mobile World Congress? Watch the following video:
And last but not least, here you have a picture of the team
The Avast Mobile Security team demonstrated how easy it is to hack smartphones and tablets at the Mobile World Congress.
The sleekest smartphones, the coolest wearable devices, and the best in mobile security were debuted at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last week. But it was hacking user’s devices at the Avast booth that had the journalist’s buzzing.
Hacking unsecured Wi-Fi is easy enough for any IT college student
Filip Chytry, a mobile malware researcher that you are familiar with if you visit our blog, set up a wireless hotspot in the Avast booth that allowed visitors to track the online activity of any device that connects.
“The site will let Avast capture passwords, messages and other information people type on the websites, and Chytry can even create dead ringers for Gmail or Facebook sign-in screens – – down to the little green padlock icon that indicates a secure connection…,” reported Bloomberg Business in The Easiest Way to Get Hacked: Use Phone at Phone Show.
Most people connect to a completely unsecured public Wi-Fi hotspot without a second thought.
Security experts from Avast traveled to 9 cities on 3 continents, and found that Wi-Fi users in Asia are the most prone to attacks. Chicago and London are the most vulnerable in the USA and Europe. Avast’s spokesperson Marina Ziegler told E&T Engineering and Technology magazine, “…in London we found that 54 per cent of routers were weakly encrypted and easily accessible to hackers.”
“That means that if a hacker walks into a pub, he can access the router’s settings and for example reroute the traffic via another malicious server,” said Chytry. “That’s very easy. Every IT college student can do that.”
AMSTERDAM and SAN FRANCISCO – March, 2, 2015 – AVG® Technologies N.V. (NYSE: AVG), the online security company™ for 197 million active users, today previewed the next version of the AVG Zen™ platform to mobile operators and original equipment manufacturers (OEM). With the consumer launch currently planned for later this year, AVG Zen delivers a new family-first approach to security, including support for industry partner apps and wearables on customers’ devices, all in one place.
With digital lives becoming more complex in an Internet of Things world, security is now about protecting people as well as their devices and personal data. The next version of AVG Zen delivers three core pillars:
A subscription security service for families that includes AVG AntiVirus and AVG Cleaner across their devices to give them confidence in their digital lifestyle. AVG AntiVirus for Android™ was the first mobile security product to enter the 100-500 million downloads category on the Google® Play™ store.
A dedicated set of family products from Location Labs by AVG including phone controls and location services. Already offered by the top four US mobile operators, extending the availability of these products through AVG Zen makes it even easier for families to communicate and share location. Phone controls gives parents peace of mind when giving their children their first mobile device, allowing them to monitor and set limits.
A platform for mobile operators to deliver context-aware solutions for core services. This could be, for example, notifying a user if they are running low on storage or approaching their data limit. AVG Zen is open to partners looking to expand their offerings directly to AVG’s 197 million end users.
With global smartphone subscribers reaching 3.5 billion by 2019, industry figures calculate suppliers of Internet of Things product and service providers will generate incremental revenue exceeding $300 billion by 2020. Research into data management and security services estimates these alone will drive revenues in excess of $1.8 billion in the same timeframe.
AVG Zen enables mobile operators to provide context-aware alerts, updates and information direct to the customer to give them control and transparency of their security across their family, data, and devices.
“People not only want their online rights to be recognized, they want more control and responsibility over their online actions and those of family members. But today, their online experience is still disconnected. In the 2015 consumer trust survey we carried out with MEF, 72 percent were not happy sharing personal data with apps, 40 percent named privacy and security as important when choosing a mobile device, and another 34 percent relied on dedicated security apps to protect them,” said Yuval Ben-Itzhak, Chief Technology Officer, AVG Technologies. “Mobile operators and online security companies hold a trusted position in consumers’ lives and we have the opportunity to transform their connected experience by bringing everything together all in one central place.”
About AVG Technologies
AVG is the online security company providing leading software and services to secure devices, data and people. Over 197 million active users, as of December 31, 2014, use AVG´s products and services. AVG’s Consumer portfolio includes internet security, performance optimization, and personal privacy and identity protection for mobile devices and desktops. The AVG Business portfolio – delivered by managed service providers, VARs and resellers – offers IT administration, control and reporting, integrated security, and mobile device management that simplify and protect businesses.
All trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
New mobile apps, a live Wi-Fi hack, results of a global Wi-Fi experiment, a demonstration of mobile malware, and Avast mobile experts can all be found at Avast’s booth (hall 5 stand 5K29) at this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
Open Wi-Fi Risks and Live Demonstration
Connecting to public Wi-Fi networks at airports, hotels, or cafes has become common practice for people around the world. Many users are, however, unaware that their sensitive data is visible to hackers if they don’t use protection. This data includes emails, messages, passwords and browsing history – information you don’t necessarily want the guy sipping the latte next to you at the cafe to see. Avast experts traveled to different cities across the U.S., as well as Europe and Asia, to find out how much information is openly shared via public Wi-Fi. They found that one-third of browsing traffic in New York City, San Francisco and Chicago is openly visible for hackers.
At the Congress, Avast will conduct a Wi-Fi hack demonstration. The demonstration will allow visitors to see, first hand, what a hacker can access if they don’t use protection. Participants can connect to Avast’s (password protected) Wi-Fi network to browse and send messages as they normally would when connected to open Wi-Fi. To demonstrate how this information would look through the eyes of a hacker, their activities will be displayed on a screen at the Avast stand.
Mobile Malware and Simplocker Demonstration
Mobile malware is often perceived as a myth, yet Avast currently has more than one million samples of mobile malware in its database. Avast recently discovered a new variant of the mobile ransomware, Simplocker, which will also be demonstrated during the Congress. Visitors can see how the malware disguises itself, behaves, and will learn how they can protect themselves.
Introducing Avast’s New Suite of Apps
Avast will be introducing a suite of new apps at this year’s Mobile World Congress, including productivity and security apps for Android and iOS. Avast GrimeFighter and Avast Battery Saver address two of the most common complaints for Android users: storage concerns and battery life. Avast GrimeFighter helps users free extra storage on their devices by identifying unimportant data for one-tap removal, while Avast Battery Saver extends battery life up to 24 hours by learning the user’s behavior and optimizing features to preserve battery power.
Avast SecureMe is a dual solution app that helps iOS users identify secure Wi-Fi connections and protect personal data while using public Wi-Fi connections.
Wi-Fi Security, a feature available in Avast SecureMe, and coming soon to Avast Mobile Security for Android, prevents users from falling victim to Domain Name Server (DNS) hijacking by exposing vulnerabilities in routers they want to connect to.
We look forward to meeting you!
If you are attending this year’s Mobile World Congress, feel free to stop by the Avast booth to speak with Avast experts, learn more results from Avast’s global Wi-Fi experiment, see Avast’s new mobile apps and participate in the Wi-Fi demonstration. If you aren’t attending, make sure to check our blog, follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook for updates during the Congress!
Note to media: If you would like to set up a meeting with Avast, please email [email protected].
Avast will participate in the 2015 Mobile World Congress
The Avast Mobile Security Team will be introducing its latest suite of apps and solutions at this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, March 2 – 5.
The team, including Jude McColgan, President of Mobile, and Daniel Chang, Head of Worldwide Mobile Sales and Marketing, will be participating in this must-attend conference for mobile industry leaders, visionaries, and innovators.
The Avast team are leaders in securing the mobile ecosystem as it expands into the retail, banking, and health services industries. Along with interesting discussions about the latest security threats and vulnerabilities for Android and iOS devices and how users can protect themselves from those threats, our team will show users how they can free their phone from unnecessary files to gain valuable storage space on their mobile devices.
New threats and trends
Mr. McColgan and Mr. Chang will introduce a solution that addresses Wi-Fi security issues. Most people know that connecting to Wi-Fi networks on-the-go at cafes, airports, or hotels can make them vulnerable to hackers. Without the protection of a virtual private network (VPN), hackers can gain access to people’s emails, browsing history, and personal data. Now, routers are increasingly becoming targets for hackers, harboring new risks for iOS and Android smartphones and tablets. Avast will be revealing new research data, then introducing a solution for this threat at Mobile World Congress.
Storage on your smartphone and tablet can be a challenge especially when social media, video, music streaming, and news reader apps pile up data that eats up valuable storage space. Avast will showcase a new solution that addresses this problem.
If you are attending Mobile World Congress, please stop by and visit the Avast team at stand 5K29 in Hall 5.
For the rest of us not lucky enough to travel to Barcelona during the Mobile World Congress, visit the Avast blog and Facebook page where we will keep you updated on all the announcements and happenings. Take a look at some of the fun from last year’s event.