Sandia scientists build experimental Android playground with 300,000 devices

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Goal is to study how hackers can disrupt smartphone networks.

Sandia National Laboratories is building an experimental set-up of 300,000 Android devices, offering its government-funded scientists greater visibility into how hackers disrupt smartphone networks, the labs said.

This creates a realistic playground for security researchers in the same way as Megatux, a Sandia initiative started in 2009 that runs a million virtual Linux machines. Sandia is also simulating a Global Positioning System to give scientists the chance to study GPS vulnerabilities.  

Android dominates the smartphone industry and is the most profitable target for mobile malware writers. An obstacle to studying Android-based machines is their complexity: Google, which developed the operating system, wrote some 14 million lines of code into the software.

Sandia National Labs is operated and managed by Sandia Corp., a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corp.