Malware attacks are a danger for all devices and unfortunately there does seem to be more action on the attacking front all the time. Companies have to invest a great deal of time and money to protect their products and their users. These days manufacturers need to do more than just sell mobile phones; they need to develop software and implement features into their OS to ensure that users are as safe as possible. Android have had some problems with their security over the last few years and have found themselves on the end of a some very vicious attacks from dangerous malware. Almost greater than the physical damage that these attacks create is the damage to a company’s reputation and Google do not want to be saddled with a reputation of creating careless and unsecure devices. The Android rival Apple on the other hand seems to have developed their iOS which is more resistant to malware and has not suffered as many problems. As a response to this Google has taken steps to try and implement more security measures in the latest version of its OS Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.
A starting point to introducing these new features is the implementation of ASLR (address space layout randomization) in the OS. ASLR works by randomising the areas of memory that apps are stored which makes it much harder for malicious attacks to find the holes in the device’s security system and do damage. It was partially brought to the previous version of Android’s Ice Cream Sandwich OS, but the randomization was only present in a number of key memory locations which did not prevent some of the more common attacks that are programmed to return time after time. In Jelly Bean the majority of the binaries have been linked together with the PIE flag so they will all be properly and thoroughly randomised to protect against those repeat attacks. The custom Android linker has also been fully randomised in the process address space so that the ASLR is fully executable. These additions to the OS will ensure a higher level of security that is unfortunately highly necessary and should also put Android users minds at rest that Google is doing all they can to protect them. Whilst Google are in some ways still playing catch up to Apple, particularly when you look at features such as the in-kernel in Apple’s iOS 6, they have certainly taken several steps in the right direction.