Verizon launches mobile security app for Android

The app, fittingly dubbed Verizon Mobile Security, is available for smartphones running Android 2.1 or higher, and offers three tiers of service, including a free option.

McAfee says that 13,000 distinct pieces of mobile malware have been discovered so far in 2012 – a staggering number when one considers that less than 2,000 were found in all of 2011. 

And when it comes to targeting Android-based mobile devices, “it is fully functional and mature, and mobile malware writers know what they are looking for: consumer and business data,” the security firm said.

The latest method of Android infection is through malicious websites – a gambit that is well-known from the PC world. "If much of Android malware seems familiar to PC malware, it should come as no surprise," the report says. "Malware writers leverage the expertise they honed during the years of writing malware for other platforms." For instance, one recent Android malware attack targeted female users in Japan, using emails directing them to a phony website loaded with malicious links.

In an effort to target the most common issue, the free Verizon Mobile Security Basic app provides anti-virus and anti-malware protection powered by McAfee (including threat detection and alerting), along with McAfee SiteAdvisor for identifying and warning customers of suspicious websites that may contain malicious links for porting malware to handsets and tablets. Usage of the app applies against the mobile data plan.

A middle tier comes in the form of Verizon Mobile Security Premium, which includes the security features of Verizon Mobile Security Basic while adding the McAfee App Alert. That delivers information about which apps have the ability to access, store or transmit data to or from the device. Premium goes for $1.99/month per line, and includes physical recovery features that allow customers to remotely locate, alarm, lock or wipe data from a lost or misplaced device using their My Verizon accounts.

The upper tier includes Verizon Mobile Security Premium with Total Equipment Coverage, which adds Asurion's Wireless Protection Plan for lost, stolen and damaged devices, and Verizon Wireless' Extended Warranty for mechanical or electrical defects after the manufacturer's warranty expires, for an additional $1 per month.

The apps can be downloaded from Google Play, but will be charged on the wireless bill.

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