There are many misconceptions about security in the digital signage industry, and one of the most common concerns is Android-based systems. We often get asked whether Android is safe for digital signages. This is in part fueled by periodic reports of data breaches that leave even big corporations exposed.
Why all this concern about Android?
What genuinely concerns most are amateur videos that have propped up on the internet where people can be seen hacking public screens, and displays running on Android. These individuals have published inappropriate content to further spread the misconception that Android is inherently weak. Nothing could be further from the truth as Android is not the reason for the security risk and it’s not to be blamed for most of these breaches.
So what went wrong?
In the vast majority of these cases, the real problems are hardware/screens and not that of the operating system. In a misguided effort to cut costs, several businesses, and organizations use homemade amateurish products, instead of professional players and display screens that are specially built for digital signages. While the high-end screens and players have inbuilt security architectures, the homemade ones have no such security measures to protect themselves from any breach. And as it’s made for home use, most of them allow screen sharing and mirroring by default.
Not to mention that these won’t be noticed unless someone gains entry into the same network/wifi, this is where the worst scenario happened, homemade screens/players connected to open and unprotected network.
Is Android Safe?
Since it’s based on Linux, it’s considerably safer than Windows-based players. Android constantly works with developers for its safety, and while being an open ecosystem, it has more than enough safeguards to protect the security of its devices, network, and data.
It’s also important to mention that most of the leading brands, including, Sony, Philips, and Sharp, prefer Android as their digital signage OS. They wouldn’t be running on Android if they had any doubts about its security in deployment
Even system administrators not used to the operating system need not worry as the default settings in Android make it formidably secure. Its security architecture is robust and the security protocols are rigorous and periodical.
Android’s design has been created to anticipate the most common breaches, including, those asking users to install malware, or those targeting third-party apps. Regular updates also decrease security risks, making it safe to run digital signage systems.
Any digital signage solution that has NOT been implemented with the basic security measures will get breached regardless of the operating system, hardware, and solution.
Android has allowed hardware manufacturers to deliver high-performance devices for a fraction of the price of the traditional digital signage players. That’s why it got fought at the start, and now after people are realising the benefits of using Android as a digital signage platform, and after big brands jumped in, the fight is over, and Android is slowly taking over.
Basic steps you should follow to secure your digital signage setup.
- Don’t connect your screens/players to an open/guest network, use a secure network that has limited access to authorized personnel only
- Don’t connect your screens/players to an open/guest network, this is not a mistake, it’s a critical step, dont ignore it.
- Always keep your screens/players software updated.
- Stay away from insecure solutions running over HTTP/FTP, always use solutions that use encrypted and protected communications over HTTPS/SSL.
- Don’t use homemade devices for your digital signage solution.
- Physical secure the locations where media players and screens are installed.
Start using a secure digital signage solution today
EasySignage is a Google technology partner. Our solution is deployed on Google Cloud platform for an enterprise-level product with multiple layers of security protection and global availability.
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