Kaspersky Adds Android, BlackBerry OS Support to Mobile Security Suite

Kaspersky Lab announces new privacy, anti-malware and anti-theft features for Android and BlackBerry users in its latest Mobile Security 9 suite.

Kaspersky Lab expanded its mobile security platform to include Android and BlackBerry devices, the company said on Feb. 22. Kaspersky already supported Windows Mobile and Symbian, the company said.

The security features in Kaspersky Mobile Security 9 are not currently available for all four mobile platforms, however. While anti-theft features such as using the phone's GPS to track down the location of the device and remotely wiping information are available for Windows Mobile, Symbian, Android and BlackBerry, encryption and parental controls are available only for Windows Mobile and Symbian, according to Kaspersky.

Antivirus, firewall and privacy protection are also unavailable to the BlackBerry, but available for Android, the company said. Mobile filtering, which allows users to block spam text messages and unwanted phone calls, are available for all devices.

Kaspersky Lab protects "sensitive and personal information and identity" with Kaspersky Mobile Security 9, said Randy Drawas, chief marketing officer of Kaspersky Lab Americas.

Kaspersky is not the only security vendor coming out with mobile security products for Android, BlackBerry, Symbian and Windows Mobile. McAfee also announced its McAfee Mobile Security suite, which bundles its WaveSecure and VirusScan Mobile products to offer remote lock, GPS tracking, remote wipe and malware scanning features to mobile users, the company said. The company also is beta testing its WaveSecure software for Android tablets, to protect lost devices.

The Kaspersky anti-theft technology available for all four platforms includes SMS Find, Remote Block and SIM Watch. With SMS Find, users can pinpoint the missing mobile device's location on Google Maps using real-time GPS location data. The information can also be sent to a pre-defined e-mail address, according to Kaspersky officials.

Kaspersky Mobile Security 9 also lets users remotely block anyone from downloading data or receiving calls on the missing device, the company said. The device can be either locked down to prevent anyone from accessing private data or remotely wiped, to delete all sensitive data.

SIM Watch alerts the original owner if the thief tries to foil GPS tracking and remote wipes by replacing the SIM card, the company said. The telephone number associated to the new SIM card is automatically sent to the pre-defined e-mail address, and the original owner can still remotely wipe data, according to the company.

Android users now have access to an antivirus scanner and firewall to protect against mobile malware, Kaspersky said. While still minimal, there have been reports of Android Trojans in the wild recently, as well as social engineering attacks that target mobile devices. Kaspersky said its scanner will prevent malware that can steal data or affect phone functionality.

The Privacy Protection features also allow Android users to keep certain contacts and communications with those contacts hidden. Those selected contacts will not appear in the address book, the phone will not ring if they call and no notification will be shown if they send a text message, Kaspersky said. The contacts are revealed only when the user enters a code to disable the protection feature.

The new version of Kaspersky Mobile Security 9 is available as a subscription-offering for $29.95 per license. Supported versions include Symbian OX 9.1 and higher, Windows Mobile 5.0 to 6.5, BlackBerry 4.5 to 6.0 and Android 1.6 to 2.2 (Donut to FroYo).