Sophos Mobile Security Offers Application, Web Protection

The latest version for Android devices features application protection, which protects the start of selected applications with a password.

Data loss and threat prevention specialist Sophos introduced the latest version of its free Android security app, Sophos Mobile Security 3.0, its full-featured mobile security and antivirus application.

The latest version features application protection, which protects the start of selected applications with a password, meaning users can let others use the phone without risking corporate data security. Users can protect their settings or Google Play app and any other mobile application.

In addition, Web protection is now included in the free version. The feature blocks access to malicious or phishing Websites, so users can access the Internet with less fear of stumbling onto potentially harmful Websites.

As an additional option, Mobile Security can integrate into the company's flagship mobile device management and security solution, Sophos Mobile Control, providing central management and integration into the compliance enforcement engine. Mobile Control can be deployed as software for on-premises installation—or as software as a service (SaaS) hosted by Sophos or a managed service provider (MSP).

"If Android malware risks weren't enough, Android device loss and theft are an enormous issue, especially considering that more than 100 cell phones are lost or stolen every minute just in the US alone," Thomas Lippert, senior product manager for mobile at Sophos, said in a statement. "Mobile malware leads to data loss and unexpected cost issues, while actual device loss and theft leads to potentially much worse. Either way, it's imperative for users to ensure their devices are protected. And we're providing this protection—for free."

Just this weekend, Bitcoin, the maker of the digital currency, announced that a security vulnerability within Android had exposed Bitcoin users to theft through several Bitcoin digital wallet applications. The security flaw is just the latest to highlight the weaknesses inherent in the highly fragmented distribution of the Android platform. The Android operating system remains a prime target for cyber-criminals, as Android's user base expands but security remains weak.

The Android platform is the world's most popular smartphone operating system, claiming more than 50 percent of the market, according to comScore. With that kind of market penetration—not to mention OS fragmentation—Android is becoming an increasingly popular target for malware and SMiShing (SMS phishing).

Security firm Symantec's most recent Internet Security Threat Report (ISTR) indicated that consumers remain vulnerable to ransomware and mobile threats, particularly on the Android mobile OS. Android's market share, its open platform and the multiple distribution methods available to distribute malicious apps make it what Symantec calls the "go-to platform" for attackers.

In July, Sophos launched Mobile Control 3.5, the latest version of its mobile device management (MDM) solution. Available both on-premises and as-a-service, Mobile Control 3.5 is aimed at small to medium-size businesses looking to secure, monitor and control mobile devices. The release added support for Windows Phone 8, as well as reporting and simplified administration to make bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies easier for midmarket companies to implement.