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AVG calls for action on mobile and cloud services security

Takes swipe at Apple over 'proprietary' nature of iOS

Security software firm AVG sought to put some more bones on the launch of the new version of its security software product in Prague this week, with the company focusing on mobility and industry initiatives to collectively tackle security threats.

The company called for more security industry co-operation to help governments offer safe services online.

Both free and paid-for versions of AVG Internet Security 2012 are now available but company chief executive JR Smith was keen to stress that the development of the product did not stop there. Smith said the firm was seeking to become a more established player in the mobile security market to address the growth of smartphone use, but he said the company's progress was being hampered by the "proprietary nature" of Apple iOS.

AVG recently launched its Mobilation security product, but so far it has only found a foothold in the Android device space, helped by the open source environment of the operating system. The Mobilation technology is available free of charge in the Android apps marketplace, but isn't available in the Apple apps marketplace.

Smith said, "The proprietary nature of Apple's iOS means we have been unable to offer Mobilation to many users who would probably want it."

He said there was probably more malware targeted at the Android system but that didn't mean it was harder to protect. "The fact that the system is open to provide security apps for means companies like us can protect users - you can't fully do that for Apple users, despite some companies' claims that they already provide fully functional anti-virus products for the iPhone - they don't."

Smith said he was hopeful there would be more co-operation with Microsoft as Redmond seeks to establish a firm mobile partnership with Nokia for its Windows 7 phone initiative. The BlackBerry space is also seen as a target, although a number of mobile security features are already offered to BlackBerry users through a free BlackBerry security app, such as phone lockdowns for lost or stolen phones and remote data back-ups and data swipes.

According to Infonetics, a market research firm, sales for paid-for mobile security software will grow 50 percent a year through to 2014 to hit $2 billion.

AVG is calling for more security industry co-operation to help governments offer more services online in a safe manner. Smith said too many users were able to opt out of not having any security on hardware used to access government online eco-systems.

Smith said: "You have to have more co-operation between security software companies and governments to help set standards for safely delivering services to the public, whether that's at the content provider, ISP or end user level, otherwise a small minority of users are going to cause havoc as a result of their lack of protection and them infecting everyone else."

As the cloud has gained traction among businesses, analysts like Gartner and leading cloud providers have called for minimum service and contract levels to be drawn up for cloud users. Smith said similar standards on security for providing public services via the cloud were now required.

AVG claims to have 98 million active users for its anti-virus and general security software platform, most of them users of the free product.


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