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McAfee adds SMS filtering, smartphone threat intelligence to Android security app

Mobile application supports Android smartphones and tablets with virus scanning and protection from Web threats and SMS attacks.

McAfee has bolstered its mobile security suite by adding SMS and call filtering to protect against malicious apps that attempt to call or text to premium rate numbers.

McAfee Mobile Security 2.0 supports Android smartphones and tablets, as well as BlackBerry and Symbian devices. The new features include McAfee App Alert, which monitors running apps to determine how apps are accessing personal data and whether it is transmitting the data. Meanwhile, SMS filtering weeds out spammers, incorrect numbers and unwanted texts. The mobile app can also update itself by tapping into McAfee’s Global Threat Intelligence network.

The McAfee software is similar to other security mobile apps. McAfee’s chief rival, Symantec, provides Norton Security for Android Devices. Antivirus vendors Bitdefender, Kaspersky, Lookout and AVG also provide mobile security apps in the Android Market.  All of the Android security apps provide similar functionality.

Despite the slow rise of mobile attacks, the chance of a mobile device user being targeted is low, according to McAfee. While Android users appear to be at greater risk than other mobile platforms, the PC is still the first choice of cybercriminals. Enterprises are more worried about lost and stolen devices, than the threats posed by malicious applications, phishing and mobile malware.  

To help protect against data falling into the wrong hands, McAfee provides remote wipe, device lock and backup and restore features to the device. The software can also locate and track a lost or stolen device using GPS data. Users can also remotely trigger an annoying alarm for their device if they suspect it has been stolen. Like most of the security apps for smartphones, many of the features can be disabled if a thief removes the device’s SIM card. In addition, the McAfee app can scan URLs in email, analyze files and providing web browsing protection.

Security vendors have had a difficult time designing security software for mobile devices because mobile platforms are built to isolate processes, limiting access to applications, including apps that provide security. Some users in the Android Market have complained that the McAfee app causes a variety of registration and performance issues on their devices. 

The software is $29.99 for new subscribers. A free trial of McAfee Mobile Security is available from the Android Market. Existing users can download the update for free.

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