Kaspersky takes multi-device approach with 2014 security suite

SAN FRANCISCO – Recognizing that many households increasingly use a myriad of devices, with different form factors and different operating systems, Russian security vendor Kaspersky Lab is taking a multi-device approach to its 2014 security suite, which launches later this summer.

Speaking with reporters at a Kaspersky security software reviewers’ summit, Elliot Zatsky, senior director of consumer partner services for Kaspersky Lab, noted the average household today has 4.5 devices. Previously, Kaspersky would offer them a separate solution for their Android phone, for their Android tablet, for their Windows device and for their Mac. No longer.

The 2014 Kaspersky Lineup, which will be available online Aug. 13 and in the retail channel shortly thereafter, will be highlighted by a new offering, Kaspersky Internet Security Multi-Device. It will include licenses for all of Kaspersky’s platform offerings – Kaspersky Internet Security for PC, Kaspersky Internet for Mac and Kaspersky Internet Security for Android (merging formerly separate solutions for smartphones and tablets) so a household can protect all their assorted devices with one purchase.

“We’re changing it so the consumer gets the understanding of what they need for their different devices, and all will have the Internet Security nomenclature,” said Zatsky. “Increasingly people are doing the same thing on different devices. It’s the same Internet, and they need to be protected.”

For PCs, Kaspersky will also continue to offer Kaspersky Pure Total Security and Kaspersky Anti-Virus.

A unified management console will follow in September, called Kaspersky Protection Center. It’s an online web portal that will provide one place where users can manage all their devices, see their license status, get real-time status of their protection and, with Android devices, remotely manage their settings and access anti-theft tools.

Tablets and smartphones are increasingly being targeted by cybercriminals, said Zatsky, and mobile malware is also sharply on the rise. And he said 99 per cent of the malware they’re detecting every month is designed for Android. It detected six times more malicious programs for Android devices in 2012 than in 2011, and has also noted a “significant” rise in the number of malicious programs in the official App store.

“Android is actually now the most sold mobile OS, so you can understand why it’s getting targeted more and more,” said Zatsky. “That, and it’s easier to exploit.”

While they’re often viewed as invulnerable by their users, Zatsky said Macs aren’t off the hook, even if it’s a perception Apple tries to propagate. Many exploits are browser and Internet-based though, and Max users are on the same Internet. And there are exploits written specifically for Macs. The Flashback botnet infected 700,000 Mac users last spring (and 38,000 are still infected), and 62 per cent of all Mac malware is spread in developed countries.

Kaspersky has made a number of other improvements to its 2014 lineup by bringing some of the features developed for its enterprise offerings to the consumer suite. These include:

  • ZETA Shield: Protects against zero day targeted attacks.
  • Trusted Applications mode: Once enabled, only applications whitelisted by Kaspersky can be installed and ran.
  • Screen Locker Protection: Responds to the ransonware threat where an attacker locks a user’s screen and demands a payment to unlock it.

Improvements have also been made to the Safe Money tool for secure online banking, and the parental controls.

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
A veteran technology and business journalist, Jeff Jedras began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the booming (and later busting) Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal, as well as everything from municipal politics to real estate. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada. He would go on to cover the channel as an assistant editor with CDN. His writing has appeared in the Vancouver Sun, the Ottawa Citizen and a wide range of industry trade publications.

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