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"Android Can Be Made As Secure As You Want It To Be"
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"Android Can Be Made As Secure As You Want It To Be"  
"Openness of any platform gives you a lot of flexibility but with that enormous flexibility comes questions about security. The more open and flexible you make something, the more security vulnerabilities may exist," says Joe Wlad, senior director, vertical marketing: Secure Android for aerospace and defense, Wind River.    
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Wednesday, June 06, 2012 There is an Android and there is a secure Android. Android may be full of malware but as the name suggests, Secure Android is not. Infact, Secure Android is really secure. That is why Android is finding takers in defense systems too. Be it the US Department of Defense or its Indian counterpart, Android has become the order of the day. EFYTimes.com spoke exclusively to Joe Wlad, senior director, Vertical Marketing: Secure Android for aerospace & defense, Wind River about his idea of secure Android and how Android makes a difference in the defense systems across the globe. Excerpts:

US department of defense, US department of defense uses Android, Android, Android in Aircrafts, open source operating system, Android tablets, Android smartphones, DOD, Pentagon

You talk about secure Android. Do you think Android has insecurities?

Yes, with regards to protecting information, Android has insecurities. There are a number of things that can be done to enhance the security of an Android platform and some of it is done by the applications today. There is encryption technology available for some applications to keep the information secure. We are looking to figure out ways to enhance the security of Android so that Android platform can be used in areas such as aerospace and defense where protecting information and keeping information secure is vital. Android can be made as secure as you want it to be.

What does Android have to do in an aircraft?

We used Android tablets of the size of an iPad for the mission planning purposes. So for example, a helicopter pilot could go and sit on his desk and not on the aircraft and plan a mission. He can use that tablet to see the map and load navigation information. He can access classified information on that tablet. Then he can take that tablet to the aircraft platform. He can enjoy the ability to sync the tablet with other avionics equipment with that mission information or he could use the tablet as a secondary means of information while flying. This is a pretty common use case. There are many pilots who are using these tablets for eliminating paper work into electronic version of those. Android platform is very useful for that kind of use case.

Android has reached to mobile platforms, PCs, television and to the aircrafts too. What next is coming up for Android?

I think Android can be extended to all kinds of command control intelligence surveillance radar equipment. A lot of these systems are built on ground stations. A number of these unmanned systems have ground stations for unmanned vehicles. There is a move in the US to try to standardise the interfaces of these ground stations because the way they work today is like you have one ground station controlling one vehicle. If you want to use another vehicle, you got to use another ground station. They are all incompatible. They are trying to move into an architecture where they have commonality, which means one ground station controls a dozen vehicles. So if you think about the future, that could be a basis for Android platforms because that type of ground control system is a service-oriented architecture that you put applications on like mission planning applications, weather planning applications. Android might be able to fit there. I think that's an example where you can extend that capability of Android into other areas because it is an open platform; it's an application based service-oriented architecture platform, works well with enterprise. So it has a number of great capabilities to enhance the systems that are used today.

Isn't the beauty of Android- its openness- turning out to be one of its biggest disadvantages today?

Openness of any platform gives you a lot of flexibility but with that enormous flexibility comes the question of security. The more open and flexible you make something, the more security vulnerabilities may exist.

What does a normal Android phone or a tab user needs to ensure for their online security?

The common user will probably have to worry about what they are using their Android for, what information are they storing on their device, what information are they accessing on their device. May be if they use it for banking purposes, they need to make sure that information in the banking software cannot be compromised and the information being transmitted to your account and from your account is encrypted. So, those are the things you need to make sure for the applications you are running.

Diksha  P Gupta, EFYTIMES News Network

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