Symantec Launches First Norton Security Product for Tablets

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Symantec on Wednesday rolled out its first Norton security software product specifically for tablets, an offering designed to protect Android tablets (but not iPads) from phishing attacks, malware, and physical theft.

Priced at $39.99, Norton Tablet Secueity will provide tablets running Android 2.2 or higher with most of the same protections as Norton Mobile Security, Symantec’s suite for Android phones, said Mark Kanok, group product manager for Symantec’s mobile division, in a briefing for TabletPCReview.

Norton Tablet Security is “optimized” for tablets’ larger screen sizes, according to Kanok. Users can access features from rows of columns stretched horizontally across the screen, instead of from a single vertical list.

Tablets and Phones Phishing Prone
Users are even more prone to phishing attacks on tablets and smartphones than on PCs, according to Kanok.

“Short URLs and QR Codes obfuscate the origin of a URL,” he contended. “You can’t preview the URL before clicking.”

One increasingly prevalent hacking technique is for an interloper to take a popular app off the Android Market, decompile it, add some malicious code, and then repost the app online.

The malicious version of an app can dupe the user into granting permission for it to receive text messages and to read and write the browser’s history, for example, thereby allowing the app to sneak around to phishing sites.

Although most perpetrators of phishing attacks are out to steal personal information, Kanok also pointed to a rising breed of “hacktivists” who are combining hacking with political activitism.

For example, animal rights “hacktivists” have created a malicious version of the “Dogbites” game which sends out text messages to everyone on the contact lists of the compromised device. The message reads, “I take pleasure in hurting small animals, just thought you should know that.” 

Like Norton Mobile Security and other Norton products, the new tablet software uses Symantec’s Safe Web technology in efforts to block fraudulent and malicious Web sites.

Norton Online Family for Android and iOS, plus a beta of Norton Anti-Theft
In conjunction with the rollout of Norton Tablet Security, Symantec also launched Norton AntiVirus 2012 and Norton Internet Security 2012, two products for Windows Pcs; Norton Online Family; and the beta edition of Norton Anti-Theft, a service for cloud-based management and retrieval of lost or stolen PCs, tablets and phones. 

Norton Anti-Theft expands on the anti-theft features of Norton Mobile Security, a suite that lets you lock a lost or stolen phone by sending an SMS text message to the device.

Through a new feature dubbed “Sneak Peek,” you can now remotely activate the Webcam on a device to remotely view “surroundings or who has the device,” he said.

Kanock acknowledged that, since phishing attacks are Web-based rather than app-based, users of iPads and other Apple iOS devices are also very vulnerable.

At this time, Symantec isn’t stating any intentions to extend the coverage in either Norton Tablet Security or Norton Mobility security to iOS machines, according to Kanok,

However, Symantec’s new Norton Online Family product is designed to let parents view and manage what their children are doing online on either Android phones and tablets or Apple iPhone, iPad, or iPad touch devices.











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