Month: December 2012

Biggest Malware Target in U.S. is Android According to New Report

I am a green robot bug. Nice to meet you.

The prevalence of Android devices, with over 100 million shipped in the second quarter of 2012 and comprising 52.2 percent of the smartphone market in the United States as of September, has made them the number biggest malware target according to a new report by a security vendor. With the growth of the BYOD (bring your own device) trend, this news should inspire IT managers at midsize businesses to review their security policies with regard to the ubiquitous devices.


More Attacks, Better Sophistication

In their “Security Threat Report 2013,” Sophos states that attacks against Android devices are increasing rapidly, outpacing attacks on PCs in both the U.S. and Australia. While most attacks until present have been rather simple, the sophistication of exploits is also increasing, enabling hackers to bypass anti-malware programs that have caught on to the old tricks.

As an example, the report details that some Android users have installed versions of popular games such as “Angry Birds Space” which play just like the real game. Unbeknownst to the user, however, the software gains root access and installs Trojans, which can download further malicious code and make the device controllable by a black hat.

Another exploit forwards SMS messages from a compromised device to another device, which can be used to defeat the two-factor authentication scheme used by many financial institutions to protect against fraud. This opens up the potential for a hacker to initiate a large transfer of funds after having gotten hold of a user’s bank login information (not too hard to do these days), and then capture the authentication code delivered via text message in order to validate the transaction with the bank.

Complicating matters is that some Android users choose to purposely root their phones in order to access more software or remove restrictions, leaving these devices even more vulnerable to exploits, as rooted phones allow applications to make changes at the administrator level.

Android and the Enterprise

For IT managers at midsize businesses, Android devices clearly warrant some special attention. Fortunately, the damage to enterprise users has been minimal to date, but this may not hold true in the near future.

Sophos has some recommendations for minimizing the risk of Android malware affecting an enterprise. These include: make sure Android devices are covered in written acceptable use and security documents; opt for full encryption, including removable media; forbid rooted devices; establish protocols for automatically patching devices; set limits on which kind of apps can be installed by users and the permissions granted and implement an MDM (mobile device management) solution.

Android smartphones and tablets can be wonderful productivity tools in the enterprise for midsize businesses — as long as steps are taken to lock them down against cybercriminals who would love a chance to hack the biggest malware target.'s "Insights" Program a Model for Cross-Branded Marketing

el chichuahua loco
el chichuahua loco
Not all cross-marketing ideas make sense, however.

Content marketing ideas continue to evolve as companies embrace the switch from the historical, interruptive advertising model to branded content and strategic alliances with other brands. This evolution is blurring the lines between content and advertising, as blog and social media posts are being shared across platforms and brands, resulting in content cross-integration.

Breaking Out of the Silo

Silos are what occur when business units tend to communicate only internally, resulting in an “ivory tower” effect where power is minimized from lack of synergy. This effect can happen in traditional marketing, where brands market as distinct entities instead of tapping into one another’s successes. Some, however, are realizing that piggybacking onto another brand can improve their own exposure.

In a recent press release by, it announced the launch of the new “Insights” program. By combining advertising content, social media and blog posts from outside brands with related news stories, the site hopes to provide improved engagement for advertisers and a new way to place information in front of a highly targeted audience.

The bulk of the Insights program operates on the website. News articles are combined with advertising posts, blog posts and social media streams for participating advertisers. Content can include everything from simple articles to streaming video. Positioning and integration with news content is optimized for both regular and mobile web browsers to allow for easy use and consistent viewing on a range of devices. sorts advertiser content to fit popular categories or locations, much like keyword-based or geo-targeted advertising campaigns, to ensure that the advertisements are relevant to the reader. Each piece of advertising content can contain links to other websites, sharing widgets and other items to increase exposure and promote engagement. These items are then combined to form galleries and collections on the site that readers can browse separately from the news content as well. Content is also listed and highlighted both weekly and monthly in the print-edition of the Boston Globe for increased exposure.

The Changing Face of Advertisements in the Digital Era

From web browser add-ons to the proliferation of set top boxes with digital video recorders, it is becoming increasingly difficult to ensure that advertisements are actually seen by viewers. This has led to a shift toward integrating advertisements into content within many media types. This latest addition shows that websites and news outlets are no different.

The key to this new form of advertising is striking a balance between content and promotion. Ads are often formatted to seamlessly integrate into the article or content. This practice has been received with lukewarm opinions in many cases. hopes to combat the issues that others have faced by clearly defining both advertising content and news content yet allowing them to be linked by subject matter to maintain relevance.