Symantec Aims for PC-Level Security on Mobile Devices

Symantec Corporation has released its first suite of security software (Symantec Mobile Security Suite 5.0) for Microsoft's Windows Mobile devices which add VPN (virtual private network), data encryption, antispam and other features to Symantec current antivirus offering. Symantec has also offered a suite of antivirus and firewall for Symbian OS and plans to release an upcoming version 5.0 to match the release for Windows Mobile. Some of the technology in the suite, primarily VPN and encryption, is licensed from BlueFire Security Technologies, according to Symantec spokesman Brian Modena. The suite is scheduled to become available in May through Symantec and enterprise resellers and system integrators. Mobile operators may also sell the suite as optional or standard features on devices, or on a monthly service basis. A consumer version of the suite, priced at US$79.95 per device and dubbed Norton Mobile Security 5.0 for Windows Mobile, is due in the same time frame.

The number of threats for mobile devices are minute compared to PC viruses, so companies haven't seen as much of a need for protection on them, said Paul Miller, managing director of mobile and wireless at Symantec. But if left unguarded, handsets could become attackers' next major path into company networks, he said. Companies will be able to encrypt everything on a handheld device and its storage cards, or just selected files, using 256-bit AES encryption. If a device falls into the wrong hands, administrators can wipe off the data remotely or set it up so the data is eliminated after a specified number of password attempts. The antivirus component keeps users from accessing infected files and lets administrators regularly scan devices. The antispam feature can filter out and delete spam text messages. Also included is a tool (Internet Protocol Security VPN) for keeping devices that are not compliant with policies off the network, and a mechanism for keeping employees from using selected features of a device. The suite also includes an audit log feature that keeps track of activity on the device so the company can see everything that happened after it fell out of the employee's hands, Miller said.

News source: PC World

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