If you left your cell phone in the back of a cab in New York City, you're in good company; by some estimates that unfortunate circumstance occurs 10,000 times a year in the Big Apple. Unfortunately, the number of phones recovered is a fraction of that amount. A new tool from Kaspersky Lab might help you better the odds in your favor.
Like other security vendors, Kaspersky has existing solutions that focus on antivirus and anti-spam for mobile devices. But Jeff Aliber, senior director of Americas Product Marketing at Kaspersky Lab, told us that in reality, the market "doesn't view anti-malware as something that's a major requirement."
Instead, users are putting more personal and corporate information (such as sales forecasts, CRM data and meeting schedules) on their phones, making them valuable -- and hard to replace -- tools. "There is a huge pain around losing phones, having phones stolen, particularly smartphones," Aliber said. "We found that there's this market that's not just underserved, but not serviced at all," unless you're in a large enterprise using a smartphone in conjunction with a Microsoft Exchange or BlackBerry server. In those environments, an administrator can remotely send out an SMS text message to block or wipe data from a phone. But for consumers and SMBs, these options aren't available.
In addition to standard security offerings such as anti-spam and antivirus products, Kaspersky Mobile Security looks to help secure a phone if it goes missing. "If you lose your phone, you will have the ability to send an SMS message that either temporarily locks the device until it is recovered, or wipes it clean of any stored data," Aliber told us. "This eliminates the risk of personal information falling into the wrong hands if it has been stolen (or simply left in the backseat of a cab)."
There's an anti-theft component to the solution as well, Aliber said. "If it's a GSM phone and they switch the SIM card, not only will it block data on the phone, but it's also going to call back on a preset number you give it and tell you the new number, which potentially gives you recourse to get it back," he explained. "At a minimum, if it was stolen, you can go to the network carrier to say there's someone using a stolen phone, here's the new phone number, please take it off the network, and they would have the ability to do that." (continued...)