Security For Your Family's Mobile Devices (AppCertain)

Published: Saturday, December 8th 7:51 am


posted by:
David Radin

 by Spencer Whitman Co-Founder and CEO of AppCertain

If your kids don't already have an iPad, iPod Touch, or iPhone, they are probably asking for one this holiday season.  In September of this year, Apple's App Store surpassed 700,000 apps.  So far, Apple has done a better job of preventing apps that violate privacy or contain inappropriate content in their app store, but with so many apps mistakes have been made.  Several high profile apps slipped through Apple's application process, and weren't fixed until after major media attention.

Even popular, seemingly innocent apps, can have questionable behavior, especially when children are using them. The Wall Street Journal has a report [4] on some of the most popular apps. One of these is the game Angry Birds, that tracked the location of the user, even though the game has nothing to do with the physical location of the player.

 

Most free apps, especially games like Angry Birds and Words With Friends, are ad supported. These apps use similar ad distribution which does not filter the content it displays. Many parents don't want their young children viewing ads for dating apps. As an engaged parent there is the added challenge of managing the content and time your children are allowed to use these devices.

AppCertain keeps you up-to-date on which Apps your child is installing

 Until now, parents had two options:

  1. Use Apple's built in restrictions, that require physical access to the device and are very limited in scope.  (If you enable the restrictions, don't forget your passcode, because if you do, you'll have to erase everything on the device and start over.)
  2. Use an older version of iOS, jail break the device, and install spy ware 

There was no middle ground between these two approaches, but at AppCertain, we've got you covered.  We are currently helping parents with a free service that monitors which apps get installed on their family's iPad, their children's iPod Touch, and iPhone.  After following simple steps to sign up and install a security profile on your family's device, AppCertain will send you an email every time a new app is downloaded.  We'll give you a description of the app plus extra information like:

            - Does the app display advertisements?
            - How much does the app cost?
            - Does the app track the device's location?
            - How educational is this app?

In addition to opening a window into your family's mobile devices, AppCertain is working on innovative ways for you to manage and control them.  To stay up to date with AppCertain's progress and to start using the free app monitoring service, sign up at http://signup.appcertain.com/jbf


Spencer Whitman, Co-Founder and CEO of AppCertain, is a computer security expert who has done research for over ten years at Columbia University and Carnegie Mellon University. He has been interviewed on several news stations both local and national.


[1] http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2399970,00.asp
[2] http://articles.latimes.com/2012/jun/06/business/la-fi-tn-linkedin-ios-calendar-privacy-20120606
[3] http://www.forbes.com/sites/adriankingsleyhughes/2012/07/06/first-ios-malware-hits-app-store/
[4] http://blogs.wsj.com/wtk-mobile/