A new report suggests the next version of Google Android will come with security enhancements specifically designed to make the smartphone platform more attractive to businesses.
Citing a pair of unnamed sources close to the project, The Information claims that the Android upgrade is a “major effort” focused especially on hardening the platform against potential attacks. In addition to improved encryption, the extra security could include support for biometric authentication and new APIs for remotely managing and wiping devices.
Although Android holds the lion’s share of the global mobile-device market, it faces hardy competition in the business arena from Apple’s iOS and a weakened-but-present BlackBerry. Rather than emphasize security and other business-centric features, however, previous iterations of Android have focused on ever-sleeker design, performance boosts, and features such as the Google Now digital assistant. In the meantime, concerns have emerged about Android as a vector for malware, as well as the platform’s reported security risks. In light of that, it seems logical that Google would choose to veer more toward fortifying its security credentials in its next software update; whether it will (or even could) extend similar measures to earlier versions of Android is an open question, especially given the fragmentation of the Android ecosystem.
Whatever path it chooses to pursue, Google probably won’t unveil any changes to Android until its massive I/O conference in late June.
Securing Your Android Apps
In the meantime, Google offers Android developers some useful tips and tricks for making sure their apps are as secure as possible, including breakdowns on using permissions, handling user data, cryptography (“In general, try to use the highest level of pre-existing framework implementation that can support your use case”), and security best practices for native code. Among its materials, Google also includes ways to ensure network transactions with HTTPS and SSL are secure.
However, Google’s documentation for enterprise development is comparably short, focusing mostly on a walkthrough of Android’s system-level device management capabilities and how to work with them via the Device Administration API. Areas covered include defining and declaring policies, creating and activating a device administration receiver, and implementing a device policy controller.
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