McAfee extended its mobile-data-protection software to provide iPhone users with remote tracking, remote wipe and backup capabilities.
WaveSecure will be available through the iTunes App Store for $19.95, McAfee said Aug. 15. The application will allow users to back up their contacts, photos and video as well as to restore the data directly from McAfee's WaveSecure Website.
Users will also be able to track and locate a lost or stolen iPhone, as long as the handset is connected to a carrier or a WiFi network and even if the GPS location is turned off. If it becomes necessary, the user will also be able to remotely wipe the contacts database from the phone, McAfee said.
Mobile malware often dominates all mobile-security discussions, but WaveSecure does not offer any anti-malware protection technology. WaveSecure provides consumers with some of the remote administrative capabilities more commonly found in enterprise-grade mobile-device-management software to protect data when the smartphone is lost or stolen. McAfee sells the services to corporate iPhone users through the Enterprise Mobility Manager software.
"Consumers use their mobile devices to hold some of the most important details of their life," said Todd Gebhart, McAfee co-president. WaveSecure ensures that even if the device is lost, stolen or damaged, or if the user accidentally deletes the data, all the information "remains safe and easily accessible," he said.
The company's WaveSecure application for the iPhone offers similar features to the versions available for Android, BlackBerry, Symbian and Windows Mobile platforms, but is not exactly the same, McAfee said. The iPhone version does not allow users to back up and restore SMS (Short Message Service) communications and call logs or to remote-lock the handset with an alarm. SIM tracking is also not available.
Apple already offers a similar tracking service called Find My iPhone, which also works for the iPod Touch and iPad, and allows users to locate their devices on an online map, send messages to the device and to remotely trigger a data wipe. While the service was initially available for a fee under MobileMe, it is now free for all users. There are even reports of a similar service for Macs coming soon, called Find My Mac. Apple also already provides backups for iPhones via the iTunes software and will allow users to save to iCloud.
Rivals such as Lookout Mobile Security offer both antivirus and remote-device-management capabilities, but not for the iPhone.
The lack of antivirus software for the iPhone is a problem, according to Zscaler researchers. "As iOS devices become the most dominant smartphones with enterprise users, security will become a bigger concern as Apple doesn't allow AV applications on its devices," said Michael Sutton, vice-president of security research at Zscaler ThreatLabZ.
Despite recent market-share reports showing Android devices are gaining in popularity against the iPhone and Research in Motion's BlackBerry, for enterprise users, iOS devices remain dominant, Sutton said. In the second quarter of 2011, iOS devices accounted for 42 percent of mobile Web traffic in the enterprise, Zscaler found in its latest "State of the Web" report. "It's clear that Android use is not taking off in the enterprise as it is with consumers," Sutton said.