Vicente Morin Aguado
HAVANA TIMES — A new antivirus for Android devices has been created entirely in Cuba and in now being sold to the Cuban people, under its creator’s management, the Information Security Consulting Services Company, known by the acronym Segurmatica. The innovative digital product was presented at the XVII International IT Fair during the week March 19th-23rd 2018, at the Pabexpo exhibition center in Havana.
Even though attacks against the Android system that is set up on nearly every active cellphone in Cuba, are on the rise, a direct survey of WIFI users at different parks in Havana confirmed the absence of an efficient antivirus on their devices, with no knowledge about the SegSM 1.0.app, the license and files of which are on sale without any distinctions.
The people I interviewed for this piece were taken aback when I asked them the question and they also underestimated or were unaware about the growing threats to this well-known operating system:
“Thanks for your information, do you sell this application?” (Rosalia, a visitor passing through the capital).
“I haven’t had any problems with the so-called Clean Master that was preinstalled, up until now, but I’ll take your word for it.” (A young man who was ready to use IMO)
“Segurmatica!” a woman cried out scornfully, “if it was made here, I don’t think it’ll be worth it, we’re really far behind in these things.” (Mayelin, waiting for her phone to be fixed at Los Doctores del Celular, a cooperative located on Infanta and Zanja streets, Havana).
Interviewed by the Cuban News Agency (ACN), Segurmatica expert Michel Perez Barrios informed the following: “We have over four terabytes of malware stored that were conceived to harm the Android system, especially via Zapya.”
There’s no doubt about how necessary it is to have an antivirus installed on your mobile phone that is constantly being updated, but here in Cuba, it has its limitations because this implies an information flow. Michel subtly drops the following detail on us: “Segurmatica offers a version with a firewall for WIFI and mobile networks, which would prevent traffic going to unwanted sites.“
Unwanted sites? The ambiguity of this phrase could imply the idea of an IT control that is meant to serve Cuba’s digital blacklist, arbitrarily made up of pages which the government doesn’t like the content on. Not forgetting that the internet in Cuba is under the auspices of a great state-controlled monopoly (ETECSA) and its subsidiary companies.
If cellphone owners finally accept the security they need in the face of 4 billion aggressive bytes, they will accept the abovementioned firewall as a bonus gift.
Regarding the sale of this antivirus for Android devices SegSM 1.0 app, a personal license costs 25 regular Cuban pesos (1 usd) per year, although users who have been using the antivirus for Pcs, which was created many years ago by the cited company, will only pay 10 CUP per year.
You can sign up for the new application at any Segurmatica office; the main office is located on 651 Zanja Street, on the corner of Soledad Street, Central Havana.
It is a light app, it only weighs 5.4 Megabytes and updates only weigh 2 MB, which can be downloaded at any Internet connection hub or manually at Computer Clubs for young people, as well as the service that the Cuban creator and sales company directly offers.
This lack of digital culture as a result of the Cuban people’s limited use of the internet is obvious and that’s because Internet access in Cuba continues to be one of the most expensive in the world when taking peoples wages into account. In addition to government controls, the precious online time users buy is used for connecting with family members and friends living abroad, as every minute spent exploring the news world freely is essentially the same as a peso.
Anyhow, for any half-skilled web user, there are other ways to circumvent the State’s persistent censorship online and they don’t have to give up protection for the operating system installed on the vast majority of active cellphones in Cuba because of this.
Vicente Morin Aguado: [email protected]