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Fudan University develops more secure smartphone system

FUDAN University scientists have developed a new mobile phone operating system based on the Android system, but which they say improves security to prevent breaches of a user's information.

Yang Min, a professor of the Software School of Fudan University, said many mobile applications access and leak users' information and even rack up additional financial charges when in operation. But the current Android system does not help users understand each application's intent and stop leakage of vital information.

"Smartphones are not as safe as people think," Yang said. Last year, Yang and his team looked into 330 popular mobile applications, among which 58 percent would leak users' information.

To improve the security of smartphones, Yang's team developed a new operating system based on Android which lets users see all sensitive operations of an open application, from accessing the contact log to sending messages to access the Internet.

The users will be alerted of an application's intent in terms of ongoing sensitive operations, helping them decide whether to shut it down or not, Yang said.

A new phone that uses this new system has entered the market and will be launched at the end of this month. The phone is produced by a local smartphone company, PHICOMM Inc, according to Yang.

"Malicious mobile applications still flood the application market since the development of security solutions hasn't caught up and the law to protect users' privacy is incomplete," Yang said.

Yang further advised users not to log onto a webpage or an application via a third-party account on a smartphone because it can potentially create an access path for malicious applications to view users' private information.


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