McAfee focuses on privacy in mobile security software package for Android

Android apps could invade a users' privacy and expose his personal life, McAfee said

McAfee is expanding its mobile security software for Android tablets and smartphones, as it sees an increase in threats targeting Android devices, the Intel subsidiary announced.

The new Mobile Security software has features that help ensure that apps are not accessing personal information without the user's knowledge, and reports on apps that may be sending personal data to risky sites such as adware and spyware networks, McAfee said in a news release. The software should also protect customers against financial fraud, identity theft and viruses, it said.

The new security suite also allows users to filter their App Alert notifications in apps that are using permissions the user deems important, and it checks if apps are associated with risky URLs, McAfee said, adding that McAfee Labs has discovered that approximately five percent of apps in its database are associated with risky URLs.

This summer, McAfee has seen an increase in threats targeting Android devices, the company said. "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," according to McAfee. To steer clear from malicious apps, users should research apps and app publishers and check ratings before they decide to install the software, it said.

As security firms concentrate more and more on mobile offerings, adding new features such as privacy controls is very important, in particular to protect the user from banking fraud or identity theft, said Ben Wood, director of research at CCS Insight.

But the problem for security companies is that most users don't regard mobile security problems as a big threat, he said. "Turning mobile security into a meaningful product has proven to be difficult," he said.

McAfee's mobile security software recently surpassed one million downloads on Google Play, the Android app store. This proves that consumers are not really concerned, said Wood, who added that one million downloads is a fairly small number if you keep in mind that there are tens of millions of Android devices sold.

"There are a lot of companies in the mobile security space," Wood said, who reckoned that there is a big potential in the mobile security market. But to convince consumers that there is a need for mobile security software, there first has to be a disastrous mobile security problem that affects many users so they become aware of the threat, he said. "Then everybody rushes off to buy it," he added.

Other security companies as F-Secure, AVG and Lookout Mobile Security are also betting on a growing mobile security market, and they hope that one day the mobile security market will become as big as the security market for PCs, said Wood. Most consumers understand how important security as a virus scanner and firewall are when using a PC, he said.

McAfee offers its mobile security software package for $US29.99 for a one-year subscription, and it is also available for BlackBerry and Symbian devices. The company did not immediately reply to a request to comment on any plans to expand the privacy enhancements of its Android product to their Symbian and BlackBerry offerings.

Loek covers all things tech for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Loek Essers

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?