McAfee launches mobile security suite

McAfee has become the latest security vendor to launch an all-in-one security suite to protect mobile devices.

McAfee Mobile Security, which is capable of running on Windows Mobile 2003, Windows Mobile 5.0, and Symbian series 60/ UIQ devices, screens for an unusually wide range of potential threats.

As well as screening for mobile viruses -- statistically rare despite attempts by some vendors to talk up the issue -- its also features protection more commonly associated with desktops, such as a two-way firewall, anti-spam, anti-spyware, and content filtering.

This, the company claimed, allows it to monitor risky applications such as e-mail, instant messaging (IM), file and web downloads, through a number of connections such as SMS, MMS and Bluetooth.

McAfee has taken a platform-oriented approach with the software, offering it in a number of forms that will appeal to phone networks, enterprises and, of course, consumers. The software can be embedded in phones and PDAs by manufacturers, updating itself at pre-set intervals.

Enterprises might be tempted if there is ever a corporate version, though the company already has a mobile version of its anti-virus software, McAfee VirusScan Mobile Enterprise.

There are a number of issues with such software. It has to be able to carry out its security functions without impacting on the performance of the device, more so if that device is a mobile phone.

There is also a question mark over whether conventional barrier security is the biggest issue for mobile devices such as company PDAs -- others have brought out products that encrypt data in the event they are lost - something that is more likely than encountering a mobile virus, say.

The consumer version of the suite will cost US$29.95 for a year's subscription.

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John E. Dunn
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