A lot of the buzz about mobile security whirls around the wild and wooly Android application market. Android smart phone app development, unlike Apple and Microsoft, is wide open. Google had to pull score of malicious applications last year. McAfee has taken a first swipe at protecting mobile users from dangerous applications with Mobile Security 2.0, the latest release of its consumer mobility security software.
App Alert informs users if an application is suspicious, giving them the opportunity to uninstall potentially dangerous software. A Google developer can integrate more than 100 permissions, some of which might allow the app to grab data — address lists, photos, etc. — the user might not be too happy about. If the list is long enough, the user may tend to check them off (Yeah, yeah, yeah; OK; Yeah; Hmm, OK….) so they can start using the app they just downloaded. It’s as much in human nature as agreeing to a EULA without reading all that text.
McAfee Mobile Security takes an inventory of installed apps, ranks them by level of privacy access, presents privacy information about the app and provides a one-click option to uninstall. Scans can be made upon installation, scheduled weekly or performed on demand. The new release also features Site Advisor, McAfee’s URL reputation evaluation capability, for Droid. McAfee is building an application reputation database to identify high-risk apps, which it will introduce to the product in April.
The new release also features call and SMS filtering to block unwanted calls and spam text messages.
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