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Handset security inherently weak, argues mobile network security specialist

November 27, 2007 – Dublin, Ireland – AdaptiveMobile, the leading security provider of mobile subscriber protection for enterprises and individuals, today urged both mobile operators and subscribers to be wary of handset security following recent product launches from major vendors including Symantec (Norton Smartphone Security) and McAfee (VirusScan Mobile).

“Whilst major security players like Symantec and McAfee developing mobile security products is further welcome recognition of the growing need for mobile security, we need to realise that traditional PC network security cannot be simply transferred to the mobile world, where the challenges are very different and more complex,” comments Lorcan Burke, CEO at AdaptiveMobile. “This is where the problem lies. Traditional PC-based security products such as anti-virus have well documented weaknesses that are accentuated in the mobile world.

“PC security firms rely on honeypots to identify new threats, a model which is commercially not viable for them in the mobile environment. For mobile viruses they rely on web research, and for the operators themselves to identify the emergence of a new virus. By the time a signature database is updated, the mobile operator has been hit by customer care calls and media interest, damaging the operator brand, data revenues and incurring costs.

“The threats in the mobile space are not usually traditional viruses, which are designed to be highly virulent and so easily detected. Instead, rogue applications and even incorrectly written applications can cause significant revenue loss, but do not meet the PC security vendors' definitions of viruses and so are excluded from their AV clients.

“Mobile operators see handset clients as an additional option for a small segment of users who may pay for the luxury of an extra line of defence. However for the mass market, AV clients are expensive, problematic and cannibalise the spend on ringtones, games and other mobile content that operators are promoting. McAfee is one of the few PC vendors who appear to have realised this, and give away handset clients for PC subscribers.

“The technical issues of handset build instability, drain on battery and lack of support all add to mobile operators’ concerns. The argument for network-centric mobile security is clear. Users do not want the extra expense and headache of managing the security on their handset, with many understandably expecting their operator to take responsibility for keeping the network safe, and with the operator unwilling to sub-contract their own network security through to a 16 year old who would rather use the phone's memory for MP3's rather than virus signature databases. This keeps mobile handsets free of both power-hungry security clients and malware.”

AdaptiveMobile’s Policy Control Framework is used by tier one mobile operators globally, sits on the network and protects subscribers against illegal or inappropriate content, mobile viruses and malware, and unsolicited or unauthorised communications, preventing it reaching the network. It works across all mobile services (WAP, SMS, MMS, email), all forms of access (Mobile, WiFi, WiMax) and for all media including mobile internet, text, images, music, voice and video. This unified protection ensures the growth of data ARPU for mobile and convergent operators, and reduces churn through increased customer profiling.

Press Contacts:

Pete Hendrick
Rocket for AdaptiveMobile
Tel: +44 (0)845-370-7024

Anne Coyle
C&E Creative for AdaptiveMobile
Tel: +1 857-222-6363

About AdaptiveMobile

AdaptiveMobile is the leading mobile security provider of mobile subscriber protection for enterprises and individuals. The company offers comprehensive proactive protection from the increasingly prominent threat of mobile viruses, malware, inappropriate content, unsolicited communications and spam at a corporate and consumer level. AdaptiveMobile’s software works across all mobile and wireless bearers, for all technologies including messaging, internet and video.

AdaptiveMobile was founded in 2003 and boasts some of the world's largest mobile operators as customers and the leading security and telecom equipment vendors as partners. The company is headquartered in Dublin with offices in the North America, Europe, South Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific.

More information is available at

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