Number of threats to mobiles ‘makes your eyes water’


Internet security provider McAfee releases free download of its protection software as it warns consumers of more threats making their way from PCs to mobiles 

McAfee says consumers now have no excuses for not protecting their smartphones after it launched a free version of its software at Mobile World Congress.

The McAfee Mobile Security service is available to download as an app from the Google Play and Apple App Stores. It protects all Android, iPhone and iPad devices against viruses, identification theft and data loss.

It features web protection, as well as call and SMS filtering. The internet security firm also used MWC to launch its third Consumer Mobile Security Report, which revealed that 82 per cent of apps track a consumer’s location and 80 per cent collect location information.

It found that all malware tracks a person’s network use, when they use their device and their location.

McAfee vice president and chief technology officer for EMEA Raj Samani (pictured) said the company is also starting to see more security threats commonly found on PCs appear on smartphones.

One such example is Ransomware, which is a type of malware that restricts access to a device and demands a ransom paid to the creator of the malware in order for the restrictions to be removed. Some forms of Ransomware encrypt files on the device, while others lock the device and display messages designed to convince the user to pay.

“From a security perspective, the number of threats we are seeing on mobiles would make your eyes water,” he said.

“The amount of data that apps are looking to extract is worrying. Our data is being targeted by everyone you can think of, from cyber criminals to overaggressive app manufacturers.

“Consumers can’t use price as an excuse now. They have free mobile security available – there is no catch and it’s not a piece of software that gets you to opt into things. Install it and protect your device, yourself and your family because we are now seeing very dangerous threats move from PC to mobile devices.”