As is so typical in lifeand is the basis for the dismal science of economicsso many things youd like to be in abundance are scarce, and so many things youd like to be scarce are abundant. Sandia National Laboratories certainly understands that reality.
Specifically, Sandia is painfully aware of the abundance of malware targeting the Android operating systems used in so many of our smartphones. In the second quarter of 2012 nearly 15,000 new malicious apps made themselves available for our cyberspace pain and suffering. In an effort to improve our malware defenses, Sandia launched a project called MegaDroid. John P. Mello Jr. describes its astounding proportions (Testing Android Security with a Mega-Network PC World, December 2012, p. 46):
Sandia researchers have linked some 300,000 virtual Android devices in a closed network so they can study large networks of smartphones and find ways to them more reliable and secure.
I think this is a genuinely neat approach to attacking the problem. What better way to refine our cybersecurity strategies safely yet realistically than to build a closed network mimicking 300,000 Android devices? Similar to our military and law-enforcement members using virtual reality to train for battle, Sandias closed network allows researchers to play out all kinds of malware scenarios.
To my knowledge, this is the largest scale platform weve ever created for this kind of software testing. I am excited to see the kinds of insights, conclusions, and strategies that Sandia will generate from this project. Most of us will likely agree it wont be a moment too soon!
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