Android-based smartphone and tablet users need not worry about the information stored in them in case of device theft or loss. Kaspersky Lab has released two security solutions, Kaspersky Mobile Security 9.0 and Kaspersky Tablet Security, designed to help protect data stored in mobile devices running on Android, the world’s most popular mobile operating system.
These protection solutions are available in two versions: Free (Lite) and Premium. The Free version contains basic antivirus functionality (user-activated scanning) and all remote device management facilities. A user can download these security features free of charge.
For enhanced security that delivers real-time protection and helps keep safe on the Internet, users can upgrade to the Premium level using the integrated in-app purchase system which, in addition to the free functionality, provides advanced antivirus mechanisms, including automatic scans of every app as it is being downloaded, real-time protection from emerging threats and Web protection to combat phishing attacks. It also includes features to manage personal information, including the option of hiding contacts, calls, messages and their history from prying eyes. These Premium features are available for purchase.
Mobile device theft is currently rampant and to help minimize it, Kaspersky has a functionality known as Anti-Theft Web Management which helps users do the following: remotely lock their missing smartphone to secure personal information; remotely wipe sensitive information from their missing smartphone; remotely locate their lost or stolen smartphone using GPS, GSM or Wi-Fi, and Google Maps; and review logs or recent activities, such as their status and the results of any commands sent to the phone, or the installation of a new SIM card. Both Kaspersky Mobile Security and Kaspersky Tablet Security possess this feature.
A tool known as “Mugshot” enables owners of lost or stolen Android devices to visually identify the unauthorized use of their devices. With the click of a mouse in the Web-based control center, users can remotely activate the front-facing camera on their missing smartphone, and the device will secretly begin taking photos. These photos are then automatically emailed to a predetermined address or can be viewed directly through the Web-based control center. If the smartphone has been stolen, the Mugshot tool gives users the opportunity to identify the thief, or if the smartphone is simply missing, users can recognize the phone’s surroundings to tract it down.
The number of Internet-enabled mobile devices keeps growing. According to an international survey conducted by B2B International in April 2013, the average household currently owns 4.5 “connected” devices – and two of them are either smartphones or tablets. These may be used in addition to, or even in place of, traditional PCs or laptops.
“There’s no denying that the Philippine market is now enjoying brisk Android device sales compared with the rest of the region. And this also explains why Filipino users are very vulnerable to threats that come with mobile device ownership – theft or loss of device as well as real malware threats,” said Bryan Sat, Business Development Manager for Philippines, Kaspersky Lab SEA.
These devices, which are also becoming more powerful in terms of capabilities, comes in varying sizes and are becoming expensive which makes them ubiquitous and therefore, hot items even for thieves.
Increase in reported cases of stolen mobile phones
Recent data from the One Stop Public Assistance Center (OSPAC) of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) showed that there are 12,111 reported cases of lost or stolen mobile phones in 2012. Compared with 9,835 reported cases in 2011, there is a clear spike of 23% on phones last year.
“It’s no longer a question of whether to secure a device or not. Users face a double risk – they may fall victim to both real street thieves and cybercriminals, who are after their devices and what’s stored in it more than their wallet. Smartphone and tablet users now need to understand that safeguarding their device is critical and they have to do it now,” Sat said.
Meanwhile, the growing popularity of Android combined with the system’s lack of built-in protection has made more cybercriminals take a great interest in them. This has led to an explosive growth in the amount of malware designed for this platform.
“Ninety nine percent of all mobile malware found in 2012 is targeting Android,” said Jesmond Chang, Corporate Communications Manager, Kaspersky Lab SEA. “The number of samples gathered in 2012 alone is more than six times higher than in the previous seven years.”
Cybercriminals use various types of malware to steal personal data from smartphone and tablet users, automatically send text messages to premium-rate numbers, and use mobile devices to spread spam.
To safeguard smartphones and tablets from threats brought about by all types of malware, Kaspersky Mobile Security and Kaspersky Tablet Security combine the traditional signature-based antivirus protection with real-time updates via Kaspersky’s cloud-based threat database, Kaspersky Security Network, and a set of integrated proactive behavioral technologies.
Both Kaspersky Mobile Security and Kaspersky Tablet Security can defend users against Web-based threats by detecting and blocking links to phishing sites and pages that distribute malicious programs. When targeting smartphones, cybercriminals often spread links to malicious or phishing sites via text messages. These mobile security solutions integrate a special mechanism which can check the links in text messages before they are opened.
Kaspersky Mobile Security and Kaspersky Tablet Security each retails for Php560 in major IT stores nationwide. These can also be downloaded from the Kaspersky Lab Web site or from Google Play.