McAfee Updates Mobile Security With Remote Tracking, Data Wipes
McAfee introduced a new version of Mobile Security to protect smartphones and tablets from malicious applications and Web malware.
Mobile Security 2.0 offers antivirus, anti-theft services and protection from malicious Websites and applications, McAfee said Jan. 30. The security software also includes online device management where users can remotely wipe data on the device and on a removable Secure Digital (SD) card.
Call and Short Message Service (SMS) filtering capabilities to block unwanted calls and spam text messages are also part of the latest version. Uninstall protection features prevent unauthorized users from uninstalling or bypassing McAfee security features, according to McAfee.
McAfee added an application-protection feature called App Alert to Mobile Security, which provides users with information about what the applications are doing with users' personal information. Although users can already see what phone functions the applications are accessing, App Alert simplifies the list by highlighting applications that request access to personal information such as the contacts list.
"It is increasingly clear that using a smartphone without security means any sensitive information, such as photos, bank account information or company data on that mobile device is at risk of falling into the wrong hands," said John Thode, executive vice president and general manager of consumer, mobile and small business at McAfee.
Mobile Security 2.0 scans and cleans malicious code from files, memory cards, applications, downloads, text messages and attachments. It relies on threat data collected and analyzed by the McAfee Global Threat Intelligence network to identify and block new threats, according to McAfee. Along with a comprehensive antivirus, users also receive anti-spyware and anti-phishing protection. Users are protected from commercial spyware, adware and dialers, even if they were downloaded as part of a legitimate application, McAfee said.
McAfee SiteAdvisor protects users from malicious URLs in SMS communications and emails, and on social networking sites. Users are also warned against potential phishing sites, browser exploits and malicious QR (or quick response) codes.
The online device management features would help protect the data stored on the devices in case of theft or loss. In Cisco's second annual "Connected World Technology Report" released last November, more than half of young professionals and college students said they'd rather lose their wallets or purses before losing their mobile devices.
For those users, McAfee Mobile Security comes with features that allow them to track their phones remotely. The built-in GPS capabilities can be activated to view the device's location on a map and use a remote alarm that makes the device "scream" to help find it, according to McAfee. Users would also be able to remotely lock access to the data, both on the device and on the SD card, and display an SMS communication on the lost device with "contact me" information for returns.
Before the data is permanently deleted, users can also decide to remotely back up all the information, McAfee said. The remote wipe can be initiated with a SMS communication containing a predefined kill code. Users would be able to download the backup to a new device.
Although Mobile Security 2.0 is available for Android smartphones and tablets, BlackBerry devices and Symbian OS phones, App Alert is available only for the Android platform. Available immediately, McAfee Mobile Security is priced at $29.99. Existing users can upgrade for free, McAfee said.