As is so typical in life—and is the basis for the dismal science of economics—so many things you’d like to be in abundance are scarce, and so many things you’d 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, Sandia’s closed network allows researchers to play out all kinds of malware scenarios.

To my knowledge, this is the largest scale platform we’ve 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 won’t be a moment too soon!

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About James Meadows

Currently I serve as a training team manager for Tyco Integrated Security at a customer-care center in Kansas City. Additionally, I am a business consultant, a freelance corporate writer, an Assembly of God ordained minister, a Civil Air Patrol chaplain, and a blogger. I believe we are living in the most fascinating times of human history. To maximize the opportunities these times present, I have a passionate interest in leadership development and organizational success, both of which I view as inextricably linked.

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