Free is all the rage in mobile these days, whether it be because of ads or in-app purchases. The latest to jump on the bandwagon is, surprisingly, Kaspersky. The company has announced that its mobile security apps for Android smartphones and tablets are now available free of charge in the Google Play Store, bellowing the “you shouldn’t have to pay to feel secure” line about as loudly as anyone can these days.
There’s a catch, of course. There’s a “premium” version you can buy to get more features than the base experience. Free users will be able to do things like track their phone via GPS, lock and wipe their phones remotely, sound an alarm remotely, and take pictures with the front-facing camera to see if a thief has your phone in-hand.
Pay $14.95 for phones or $19.95 for tablets, and you’ll get the added ability to automatically schedule system scans for malicious apps (free users can still scan, but they must initiate it on their own), a connection to a cloud database of threats so you won’t have to wait for periodic definitions updates, and automatic scanning and filtering of smartphone text messages. All sounds good to me, though I’ll always contend that caution and preventative measures are more valuable than plopping down cash for anti-virus suites. Read on for full press details.
Kaspersky Mobile Security Provides Smartphones Advanced Protection From Malware, Data Theft, Text-Message Phishing, and Device Theft
Woburn, MA –March 25, 2013 – Kaspersky Lab today announced a new version of Kaspersky Mobile Security, a security app for Android-based smartphones. The product comes with a brand new technology for checking suspicious links in text messages and a new Alarm feature that helps users find lost smartphones. Kaspersky Mobile Security now offers core protection tools, including the new Alarm anti-theft tool, at no cost. The premium version of Kaspersky Mobile Security includes several features that automate and enhance the anti-malware and privacy functions, and users can upgrade from the free trial version directly from their smartphones.
Mobile Threats and Theft
Many people fail to realize that mobile devices access the same websites – and threats – as personal computers, and mobile devices can be just as vulnerable as PCs. Today, most users understand the need for security software on their personal computer, but often fail to see tablets and smartphones as “pocket-sized” computers that require the same protection from malware and cybercriminals. As more people use smartphones and tablets to access their bank accounts and purchase goods online, cybercriminals now see mobile malware as an easy way to strike unprotected devices and make fast money.
In fact, Kaspersky Lab specialists detected over 35, 000 new malicious programs for Android devices in 2012 – approximately six times more than in 2011. That growing trend is likely to continue this year, while malicious programs look set to become more complex and dangerous. Also, Android devices are clearly the most popular targets, as nearly 99 percent of all mobile threats that Kaspersky Lab detected in 2012 were designed to attack Android smartphones and tablets.
In addition to the threat of malware, users often lose important personal information in more low-tech ways. According to a survey conducted in 2012 by O+K Research, 14 percent of users either lost or had their smartphones stolen. That’s why it’s critical for a mobile security solution to not only protect against malware and other types of attacks but also be able to prevent confidential data from falling into the wrong hands – something the new version of Kaspersky Mobile Security successfully achieves.
Kaspersky Lab has incorporated state-of-the-art security technologies into Kaspersky Mobile Security, including proactive and cloud-based technologies that make use of Kaspersky Security Network. For user convenience, the product includes automatic scanning and real-time protection (available in the paid version) alongside on-demand scanning.
Kaspersky Mobile Security reliably protects mobile web access from malicious links designed to steal personal and financial data. The new Text Anti-Phishing feature shields the smartphone’s owner from malicious SMS spam and scams by checking all links in incoming text messages.
Anti-Theft Protection with Remote Web Management
With the help of the Anti-Theft module the user can remotely block a smartphone, wipe confidential data from the memory, and even take a photo of the person who found (or stole) the device if it has a frontal camera. If a smartphone is lost, the user can locate it using GPS tracking, or signals from the closest cell phone towers or Wi-Fi networks. The new Alarm feature helps find a smartphone misplaced in the immediate vicinity, or makes it conspicuous for a thief to carry: when this feature is activated, the device emits a loud siren noise until the owner finds it and enters a secret code.
Moreover, the updated version of Kaspersky Mobile Security allows users to remotely interact with a lost or stolen device, increasing the chances of finding the device. By logging in to Kaspersky Lab’s Anti-Theft Web Management Portal, the user gains access to all of the Anti-Theft module’s capabilities, including remotely locking the device or remotely deleting all data from the device.
The Privacy Protection feature can hide specified contacts as well as lists of incoming and outgoing calls and messages from prying eyes. This can be useful if the need arises to temporarily give your smartphone to a friend or a colleague to use. This feature can be enabled automatically or upon the user’s command, which can be sent remotely.
Call and Text Filtering
The product’s features can also be used to create white- and blacklists of contacts, block unwanted calls and messages, including those from concealed numbers, or to completely block incoming calls or SMS messages.
Pricing, availability, and upgrade options
Kaspersky Mobile Security will be available from the Kaspersky Lab online store and wherever quality software is sold in the U.S. and Canada. Registered users of previous versions can upgrade to the new Kaspersky Mobile Security free of charge, but they must reinstall the application.
A free version of Kaspersky Mobile Security is available to all; the premium version is available for $14.95 for a one-year subscription. Features offered in the premium version that are not available in the free version are:
Automatic scans of downloaded applications and scheduled full system scans as the user prefers
Real-time protection from emerging threats through Kaspersky Lab’s cloud network
Secure web browsing that prevents users from visiting dangerous websites, including fraudulent phishing websites designed to steal your identity and money
Text-message scanning that filters spam messages or malicious URL
About Kaspersky Lab
Kaspersky Lab is the world’s largest privately held vendor of endpoint protection solutions. The company is ranked among the world’s top four vendors of security solutions for endpoint users*. Throughout its more than 15-year history Kaspersky Lab has remained an innovator in IT security and provides effective digital security solutions for large enterprises, SMBs and consumers. Kaspersky Lab, with its holding company registered in the United Kingdom, currently operates in almost 200 countries and territories across the globe, providing protection for over 300 million users worldwide. Learn more at www.kaspersky.com.
* The company was rated fourth in the IDC rating Worldwide Endpoint Security Revenue by Vendor, 2011. The rating was published in the IDC report “Worldwide Endpoint Security 2012–2016 Forecast and 2011 Vendor Shares (IDC #235930, July 2012). The report ranked software vendors according to earnings from sales of endpoint security solutions in 2011.
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