PCA: What's the future for mobile banking?
KF: This is a very interesting area. We see signs everywhere of a revolution in consumer technology, driven by smartphones. Starbucks reached over 42 million mobile purchases in just 15 months since their app for iPhone and Android was launched in January 2011. Customers loved being able to pay for their coffee by scanning a barcode.
Although Apple typically takes 30% commission with Starbucks, it has been a great business for both parties. Mobile money is a hit, and this is also the reason why Google has made it a top priority to get Google Wallet up and running. This whole technological revolution calls for more security and I am looking forward to being part of that evolution.
PCA: How do you explain that - despite the expansion of the problem – there is still no uniform technology when it comes to security on mobile phones?
KF: Security threats are changing and are becoming more sophisticated as the criminals find new methods. It is very costly to invest in research, development and testing of new security systems, which means that it is only a few giant companies that have resources for it. However, there exists an organisation that collects data about mobile viruses and malware, so in that way we can share knowledge on this area, but I think the explanation of the lack of a common security approach must be found in the fact that we are all competing against each other. Everyone wants to be the best.
PCA: Are the threats the same on smartphones as on PCs?
KF: Yes and no. The biggest difference is probably that, on the PC side, hackers are trying to find a hole in the operating system, so they can exploit it and sneak a virus into it, for instance a spy program that can access all your personal data. On the mobile side however, it's very common to trick people into downloading a virus via fake apps or bad links without having to find a security hole in the system.
PCA: How does your app MYAndroid Protection work?
KF: MYAndroid Protection is a complete security application that scans for viruses and malware, warns of fake apps and links, backs up contacts and can be controlled remotely from another mobile phone in case of theft or loss. If you lose your phone, it can be blocked and the contents deleted by sending an SMS to the phone. You can also track it via GPS and initiate an alarm so you can hear where it is.
MYAndroid Protection was named one of the best antivirus apps for Android in April 2012 by AV-Test.org, which tested and compared 41 apps. As well as a high virus-detection rate, we focus on ease of use.
PCA: What new security apps do you have in pipeline?
KF: I'm excited about our parental control app MYMobile FamilyProtection. We launched a beta version in spring 2012, and it received considerable success and media coverage. After a couple of months we removed it from the market to improve the features based on the feedback we got.
We also needed to implement some adjustments on our platforms to be able to respond to the high demands that we registered. We have now improved it and think it's the best parental control app on the market.
Parent can install it on child's smartphone, and can keep better track of how the child uses her or his smartphone from their PC or own smartphone. In this way we can reduce the risk of e-bullying, contact with strangers, sky-high phone bills and it gives you peace of mind knowing where your child is located via a GPS feature.
In addition, we have a backup app, MYMobileBackup, that makes it possible to move all data from an iPhone to an Android device. And finally, we will launch an app, we call MYMobileBodyGuard. It's aimed particularly at women that might be afraid to walk home alone at night and feel more secure having another person follow them home safely over the phone.
PCA: One final question: what new threats are we going to see over the coming months?
KF: In addition to the increasing number of fake apps, there will be more and more infected push ads which can steal users' contacts or install virus and ultimately drain their accounts. We have already seen many examples of this, one of the most known and biggest fake push ad this spring was the update to the Super Battery Charger app, which should extend battery life but instead infected the phones with a virus that sent costly premium text messages, secretly stealing money from users.
Kevin Freij, 37, is CEO and co-founder of MYMobileSecurity. He is Swedish and lives in Stockholm, Sweden. Kevin started www.mymobilesecurity.com in 2009 with two partners.
They make security apps for smartphones, have more than 5 million users and collaborate with more than 60 mobile operators worldwide. At the moment the company is one of the fastest growing security companies in the mobile phone industry.