Trend Micro now out to make mobile gaming safer

  • Forms Safe Gaming Alliance with Asia game developers
  • Rolls out Dr Safety free mobile app with certified games recommendations feature

Trend Micro now out to make mobile gaming saferTO help combat the rapid rise of malicious and high-risk mobile apps, Trend Micro Inc has come together with mobile game developers from around Asia to set up the Safe Gaming Alliance.
The move signifies Trend Micro’s new focus on the mobile gaming industry, building upon its deep experience in the mobile and social networking space, the security software specialist said in a statement.
As part of this commitment, Trend Micro is introducing the first-of-its kind Dr Safety mobile security app together with game developers, in an effort to make a world safer for mobile gaming, the company said.
First launched in Taiwan, the app is now available in the rest of Asia Pacific. It features six secure game technologies, including a security certified games recommendations feature, to ensure consumers are downloading legitimate gaming apps for the best possible mobile gaming experience, Trend Micro said.
Mobile gaming developers forming part of the Safe Gaming Alliance include Malaysia-based AppXplore, as well as developers from the region such as CreatioSoft, FunPlus, Games Solution Centre – Singapore, Gamiana, Gumi Asia, Monkey Wrench Games, Pigsss Games, Softstar Entertainment and Tuttifrutti Interactive.
“The mobile game market in Malaysia is poised to grow as more investments flow towards the development of mobile gaming apps,” said Terrence Tang, senior director of Consumer Business in Asia Pacific at Trend Micro.
“Today, cybercriminals are actively on the lookout to capitalise on this revenue-generating market, and are coming up with new and innovative ways to target consumers through mobile gaming apps.
“By working with local partners such as AppXplore, we can offer a trusted and secure platform for Malaysian consumers, sparring them the worry of downloading fake or risky mobile game apps that are pre-loaded with malicious content,” he added.
According to an online poll it conducted recently, Trend Micro Inc said that 61% of consumers in Malaysia have either encountered or downloaded fake or risky apps on their mobile devices, or do not know if their devices are infected with malware or viruses.
“At AppXplore, we want to offer gamers more than just quality games,” said Desmond Lee, producer at AppXplore.
“Being a member of the Safe Gaming Alliance … will not only give players peace of mind while playing our games, but also allow us to focus on developing our games,” he added.
Mobile gaming landscape
In Asia, where mobile and social networking are part of daily lives, the mobile gaming industry is expected to see explosive growth, Trend Micro said.
According to a report from Dutch-based research firm Newzoo, mobile-games revenue will expand at a compound annual growth rate of 27.3% until 2016. The report also said that the Asia Pacific region is by far the biggest market for mobile games, with 48% of global revenue, Trend Micro said.
In addition, Trend Micro’s recent online poll surveying more than 2,000 respondents from Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Philippines confirmed that consumers in Asia have a robust appetite for mobile gaming.
Yet, with the extensive usage of mobile phones for gaming, many consumers remain vulnerable to mobile threats.
Key findings of the online poll include:

  • Consumers in Malaysia are avid gamers: 75% of respondents in Malaysia play mobile games at least once a week, with 46% gaming daily. In terms of mobile gaming app downloads, 37% of consumers download gaming apps weekly, while 26% download gaming apps monthly.
  • While consumers in Malaysia love mobile gaming, 67% of respondents in Malaysia will not pay more than US$2 per app.
  • Only 41% of respondents in Malaysia are aware of what their children play on mobile devices even though 48% of respondents game frequently with family members and friends.
  • Only 19% of respondents in Malaysia have security or antivirus apps installed on their mobile phones. When asked if they have encountered or downloaded fake or risky apps, 38% indicated they have, while 23% said they do not know if they have downloaded fake apps.
  • Only 23% of respondents in Malaysia check their apps following download from the app stores.

Beware mobile threats
The number of mobile malware and high-risk apps hit two million according to Trend Micro’s first quarter security roundup for 2014.
The mobile threat landscape is quickly resembling today’s PC threat landscape wherein vulnerabilities are discovered one after another, especially since June 2013.
The Android ‘master key’ vulnerability, which affected almost all devices, could make any mobile malware ‘legitimate.’
Shortly after, vulnerabilities in device accessories like SIM cards and fake iPhone chargers also came to the fore. A platform bug that could also trap a device in an endless reboot loop and another that could leak user data soon followed.
Most recently, the Heartbleed vulnerability posed a risk to mobile devices.
It is no secret that cybercriminals are actively repacking popular mobile gaming apps for malicious intent, Trend Micro said. These apps are not only hosted on malicious sites but even in legitimate app stores.
One good example is the recent case of trojanised Flappy Bird, which was repackaged and injected with malicious code and downloaded by countless of unsuspecting users within the first 24 hours following the announcement of the official apps’ withdrawal from the app store.
Game on safely with Dr Safety
Trend Micro now out to make mobile gaming safer 
Dr Safety is a free mobile app with a unique game application recommendation function, giving mobile gamers the confidence to play any recommended games with peace of mind and sparing users the worry of downloading a copycat application or having virtual items stolen, Trend Micro claimed.
It protects users against external threats and efficiently clears any malicious mobile applications off their devices.
It also improves user’s Facebook privacy and identifies malicious apps that steal info including fake banking apps.
Dr Safety is immediately available for download in Google Play and now supports English, Bahasa Indonesia, Chinese (Traditional), Portuguese (Brazil), Russian, Thai, Turkish and Vietnamese. Or scan the QR Code and download the app in three seconds.
Related Stories:
Android heading for 100% malware record
Android ‘Master Key’ vulnerability affects 99% of devices
Heartbleed pierces OpenSSL, exposing 66% of Net to attack
The dark side of online gaming
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