Norton this week announced the launch of two new products in its Android security portfolio: Norton Tablet Security, and an updated version of Norton Mobile Security.
Norton's Stefan Wesche told PC Advisor that although the Norton mobile products contain traditional antivirus - updated for this release - the principle security threat for smartphones and tablets is that the device will be lost or stolen, and the user will hand over valuable data to thieves. "Right now there are only 268 threats," Wesche said, referring to the number of live threats in the Android ecosystem. But, he said, Norton expects this figure to rise rapidly over the next year.
None the less, the key feature of Norton's mobile products remains the ability to lock down and track a missing Android smartphone or Android tablet. The previous version of Norton Mobile Security allowed subscribers to send an SMS to their phone in order to lock it, locate it, and - if necessary - wipe the handset clean. The new version adds the 'Scream command'. This enables users to remotely make their smartphone emit a loud scream, even if it is on silent. This could be useful if your phone has only recently been stolen and may still be in the vicinity, Wesche said.
Wesche told us that Norton Mobile Security also now has a web-based antitheft feature. Using the antitheft.norton.com website, and a secure login, you can find your lost device via its GPS capability, display a tailor-made message on it ('Oi! Get off my phone!), or even take a photo of the thief who is using it. As long as your phone or smartphone has any kind of web connection, its location will be tracked every hour. And once you've reported it missing, that jumps to every 10 minutes and your device is automatically locked.
According to Wesche, other improvements to this version of Norton Mobile Security include an easier to use UI, and better Performance. Norton Tablet Security is designed for the larger screens of Android 3.2 tablets, but lacks the SMS features of NMS.
Commenting on the difficulty to a user of securing multiple devices, Wesche said that subscribers to the full Norton Internet Security product are able to utilise some of the features of the mobile products to protect their devices. He said that at some point in the future he envisages Norton releasing one product to protect all devices from all risks.
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