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Encryption and Android: A Sad State of Affairs

I want to make something very clear: I’m a big fan of Android. I’ve been using it since Verizon debut a few years ago, and I love the versatility and freedom that the platform provides. I don’t think mobile devices would be as advanced as they are today if it weren’t for Google’s competition with market leaders such as Apple and Blackberry.

Now that we have that cleared up, on to the elephant in the room. In general, Android smartphones have no native support for encryption of either the data on your phone or on your SD card. Tablets running Honeycomb and a select few enterprise-level phones support this, but the vast majority of users are left to fend for themselves and find solutions such as market applications that utilize software encryption. This is disappointing, to say the least. How can Google expect Android to be taken seriously as a secure mobile platform when they won’t provide these basic privacy measures that have been present in virtually every iPhone and Blackberry sold in the last few years?

Let’s hope Ice Cream Sandwich includes a more robust set of security features when it releases later this year.

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Christina O’Neill has been working in the information security field for 3 years. She is a board member for the Northern Ohio InfraGard Members Alliance and a committee member for the Information Security Summit, a conference held once a year for information security and physical security professionals.