This Android smartphone charger also acts as an anti-virus scanner

As we reported earlier this year, the growing number of malware on smartphones is becoming a growing problem for corporations and consumers alike. While these companies are working to find solutions, an American business has produced a cable which could provide an answer to the dilemma.

Kaprica Security’s Android smartphone charger acts as an external malware charger when connected. The device which is dubbed "Skorpion", kicks into action the moment the phone is plugged in for charging- scanning for “malware, viruses and malicious rootkits.” The charger boasts cutting edge security and coloured LED lights which indicate positive and negative scan results.

Company CEO Doug Britton says the Skorpion charger scans OS data without having to rely on the phone’s memory, processor or system in order to detect vulnerabilities. Britton believes this method means the external presence from your smartphone can actually spot more unobtrusive malware that could potentially steal files or personal information such as bank and credit card numbers.

The Virginia based company hopes the device will fight the growing number of malicious apps. In August, Trend Micro reported up to 700,000 APK files are wreaking havoc on Android- up from 509,000 in the previous quarter. The report also claimed 99% of Android devices were subjected to these malicious files due to vulnerability in the master key. In hope of curbing this problem, Skorpion will go on sale later this year for $65 plus a $3-$4 monthly subscription fee, for features and alerts. Technology Review states the charger will be co-branded with Belkin, who are manufacturing the product.

During these preliminary stages, it is not clear which handsets will be compatible with the security charger. However, Britton hints it will be launched through a handset maker that already makes both Android and Windows phones.

Source: Technology Review | Image via Kaprica Security

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36 Comments

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Hello,

Interesting concept. I wonder what anti-malware software they are using and how it gets updated? Also, the reporting mechanism is unclear to me; an LED might be fine for scanning status and results, but what about detailed logging of what happened?

Regards,

Aryeh Goretsky

Thank GOD I don't use that crap by using my brain to purchase something better. I don't have to worry about a A/V charger that has to scan my phone in case Google sent me malware when I wad not looking. Oh Sorry, that was GMail new mail Ads. really.

All right, I decided to check all the 20 apk I've recently downloaded outside the google store, at virustotal.com . Result: 3 files "detected", by a single antivirus Bkav.
But it's just adwares (ad-supported softwares) : MobClix, CharBoostAds, MillennialMediaAds .
Imho Kaspersky is just spreading FUD to promote their antivirus.

William said,
You also have a backdoor. Just like with Android you have to make sure you know what you put in there.

Not in the same league. Every app published in the App Store is checked by Apple, and you can't install apps that aren't in the App Store.

By contrast, Android apps are published immediately and you can install apps that aren't in the Google Play store.

The American courtroom mentality of plugging every butthole shut because otherwise somebody will eventually try to pour in there a cup of contents which may be hot is an evil paradigm. Users are dumb and don't like to care - that much we know. But further and further locking down the already fairly crippled device I may own will have consequence of me not owning the device. It is an exceptionally bad answer to the security question.

Phouchg said,
The American courtroom mentality of plugging every butthole shut because otherwise somebody will eventually try to pour in there a cup of contents which may be hot is an evil paradigm. Users are dumb and don't like to care - that much we know. But further and further locking down the already fairly crippled device I may own will have consequence of me not owning the device. It is an exceptionally bad answer to the security question.

My post was a joke.

Keep Android open by all means. Customers have the choice as to what to buy.

Those who don't want to worry about security so much can buy an iPhone or windows phone. If you get an Android device, you need to be more security conscious.

Hardcore Til I Die said,

Keep Android open by all means. Customers have the choice as to what to buy.

Not really much of a choice that. And therein the problem lies - I like the design of iPhone and I somewhat like the WinPho UI, but I severely dislike their ecosystems. Function takes precedence over form. You no like, you no buy is not a choice.

Phouchg said,

Not really much of a choice that. And therein the problem lies - I like the design of iPhone and I somewhat like the WinPho UI, but I severely dislike their ecosystems. Function takes precedence over form. You no like, you no buy is not a choice.

Of course it's a choice.

If you don't like the ecosystem, I'm sure you can find a similar looking Android phone to whichever phone you so desire.

Eg: the Oppo Finder is not dissimilar to an iPhone.

I love the iOS ecosystem, which is why I CHOSE to buy an iPhone.

Hardcore Til I Die said,

Of course it's a choice.

If you don't like the ecosystem, I'm sure you can find a similar looking Android phone to whichever phone you so desire.

Eg: the Oppo Finder is not dissimilar to an iPhone.

I love the iOS ecosystem, which is why I CHOSE to buy an iPhone.

Or is it? Does Oppa Finder style have A7, among other things? I will add further detail that I dislike Android's abysmal performance. Compromise from all sides. OK, I'll admit it's a choice, but it's a shyte choice, so I might as well not have it. Now, if iPhone was as open, I'd go for it, but it isn't therefore I don't.

Phouchg said,

Or is it? Does Oppa Finder style have A7, among other things? I will add further detail that I dislike Android's abysmal performance. Compromise from all sides. OK, I'll admit it's a choice, but it's a shyte choice, so I might as well not have it. Now, if iPhone was as open, I'd go for it, but it isn't therefore I don't.

For everyone that wants it open, there's another that wants it to remain closed.

It's the fact that it's closed that ensures it runs well, and allows such integrated services.

Phouchg said,
Or is it? Does Oppa Finder style have A7, among other things? I will add further detail that I dislike Android's abysmal performance. Compromise from all sides. OK, I'll admit it's a choice, but it's a shyte choice, so I might as well not have it. Now, if iPhone was as open, I'd go for it, but it isn't therefore I don't.

So from what I gather from your story; what you want is basically a jailbroken iPhone.

.Neo said,

So from what I gather from your story; what you want is basically a jailbroken iPhone.

That'll about sum it up. Except that Apple doesn't want me to want it, which immediately invalidates this choice.

Phouchg said,

Or is it? Does Oppa Finder style have A7, among other things? I will add further detail that I dislike Android's abysmal performance. Compromise from all sides. OK, I'll admit it's a choice, but it's a shyte choice, so I might as well not have it. Now, if iPhone was as open, I'd go for it, but it isn't therefore I don't.

You need to take time to learn what 'open' means...

.Neo said,
Android truly is the new Windows, in every aspect.

It's even worse since the malware also comes from software reviewed and approved by Google itself.

Spicoli said,

Sorry, we know exactly what the market share numbers are.

Apple is still in growth with each new device they release. Their market share has dropped significantly (because more people are buying smartphones, but mainly Android), but they are still selling more and more devices each year.

They're still the 19th largest company in the entire world, in terms of revenue, and the iPhone is what drives most of their profit. They're normally the first or second most profitable company in the world as well, either leading or trailing Exxon Mobil.

http://money.cnn.com/magazines...full_list/?iid=G500_sp_full

Hardly "being killed" ..

Spicoli said,
Sorry, we know exactly what the market share numbers are.

I feel sorry if that's the only thing you can come up with (see Hardcore Til I Die's reply)

Spicoli said,
Sorry, we know exactly what the market share numbers are.

If only that was relevant to anything at all. Try harder.

"growing number of malware on smartphones"

You mean on Android devices I presume.. I do not see iOS and certainly not WP having an issue with this..

If you think anyone with a jailbroken iPhonelyIhadAnAndroid can't install malicious software in the same way, you're wrong. The only difference here is Android let users "jailbreak" using a checkbox.

William said,
If you think anyone with a jailbroken iPhonelyIhadAnAndroid can't install malicious software in the same way, you're wrong. The only difference here is Android let users "jailbreak" using a checkbox.

Actually, the difference here is that Google's Play store hosts 10% (70,000) of all Android Malware.

Seems like a good idea, I'm sure people will buy this for the peace of mind but is it seriously possible to get malicious apps from the play store similar to the traditional virus?

The worst I've got have some form of spam notifications and/or install links to other crap. And that's not really virus/malicious material.

Auzeras said,
Seems like a good idea, I'm sure people will buy this for the peace of mind but is it seriously possible to get malicious apps from the play store similar to the traditional virus?

The worst I've got have some form of spam notifications and/or install links to other crap. And that's not really virus/malicious material.

I think the issue is that on any android device the user has the ability to tick a box and allow apk files to be loaded. From a company perspective that's a big deal, people in the main do not get that this could be risky, they might have a friend who tells em about getting apps for free and just do what they are instructed. The operate on a 'if the system lets me do it then its the systems fault' policy. That's why IT depts lock down computers, people in general cant be trusted to make sensible computing decisions.

However, Britton hints it will be launched through a handset maker that already makes both Android and Windows phones.

HTC, then. Well, that's what it would be over here in the UK, as looking at the Carphone Warehouse, the only Windows Phones for sale are six different ones from Nokia and two from HTC. I'm assuming Samsung still make and sell their Windows Phone over in America?

Now we only need a charger that works as a firewall and another that works as anti-spyware to have a complete security suite.