As part of a complete mobile security initiative, Sophos announced the availability of Sophos Mobile Security, a free lightweight anti-virus app that protects Android devices against malware, privacy issues and hardware loss without reducing performance or battery life.
Later this year, Sophos plans to offer a managed "enterprise" version of Sophos Mobile Security with enhanced functionality for corporate users' devices and data.
This comes as the amount of mobile malware is apparently increasing, in particular among devices using Android, the leading smartphone operating system. In May, Naked Security conducted a survey of 900 readers that found 39% used a smartphone running Android.
According to Juniper Networks and F-Secure respectively, the growth rate in Android malware last year increased 155 percent over 2010, and the number of Android malware families nearly quadrupled from 2011 to 2012.
Using information from SophosLabs, the company’s network of threat intelligence centers, Sophos Mobile Security automatically scans apps as users install them, blocking undesirable software and malicious code that can lead to data loss and unexpected cost
In addition to safeguarding devices from malicious apps and other risks, Sophos Mobile Security locates lost or stolen Android devices and provides a remote lock to shield personal information from unintended users.
"We’re seeing no slowdown in the number of malicious apps, as more smartphone owners use their devices to not only store personal data, but also access social networks and the Internet. This usage, coupled with the increase in bring your own device (BYOD) activity, is making Android devices a compelling target for cybercriminals and malware," said Matthias Pankert, Vice President of Product Management at Sophos. "Android users must be vigilant as the number of threats continues its rapid ascent; this is why apps like Sophos Mobile Security are becoming so much more important."