McAfee ratchets up its mobile security offerings

McAfee will be adding another layer of protection to its Mobile Security software.

The company, based in Santa Clara, Calif., is trying to solve a common security problem with smart-devices. As user download apps to a device they become vulnerable to hacks on their personal information. The new updates are for the Android platform and tablets and includes App Alert technology, which goes beyond simple app reporting. This new enhancement is part of McAfee’s Global Threat IntelligenceNetwork, and reports the apps that are associated with and/or may besending personal data to risky sites, such as adware and spywarenetworks.

According to McAfee, the use of mobile apps is growing in parallel with the increased use in mobile devices. Earlier this year, Google estimated 20 billion apps had been downloaded on the Android platform and according to a recent report by comScore on mobile social media usage, 33 per cent of apps ask for more permissions than they need. The Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences University of California at Berkeley report on Android Permissions found that 97 per cent of users don’t understand how permissions correspond to the risks of an app.

In addition, McAfee Labs has discovered approximately five per cent of apps in its database areassociated with risky URLs.

Luis Blando, vice president of engineering for McAfee, said Android apps can ask for 124 types of permissions – these apps could be invading your privacy and exposing your personal life. With McAfee Mobile Security, users can now filter their App Alert notifications to just those apps that are using permissions of interest or concern to the user. Whether selecting new apps, shopping online, browsing socialnetworks or employing mobile banking, McAfee Mobile Security protects the mobile user with security that is as simple as it is powerful.

This summer alone, McAfee has seen an increase in threats targetingAndroid devices. The Android operating system continues to be the most popular target for writers of mobile malware – including SMS-sending malware, mobile botnets, spyware, and destructive Trojans.

McAfee Mobile Security software is available from Google Play andMcAfee for $29.99. The software is also available through McAfee AllAccess.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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