Avast buys its way into Android security

Following in the footsteps of competitor AVG, Avast makes its first public move toward Android and purchases mobile security firm ITAgents, best known for the lost-phone app Theft Aware.

Avast

Avast, a maker of popular free security suites, has announced its purchase of mobile security company ITAgents, which makes the security app for Android and Symbian called Theft Aware. Theft Aware is notable for offering SMS remote control, being resistant to phone wiping, and offering features specifically for rooted phones, in addition to more traditional lost-device mobile security features.

Avast would not disclose a purchase price for the company, although since both are privately held companies, they're not obligated to.

The purchase does not contradict the company's plans to release its own Android security solution in the fourth quarter of 2011, Avast Chief Technical Officer Ondrej Vlcek said in an e-mail to CNET. "When we talked [this summer], we already had the LoI [Letter of Intent] with Theft Aware signed. So it's really no change in plans at all, it was part of the strategy from the very beginning."

Vlcek said Avast plans to keep the anti-theft product as a separate product with similar pricing to what it has now, but that it will also be integrated into Avast's security suite. "Basic features will be available in the free version of the suite, while some of the advanced features will only be present in the paid," he said.

Currently, Theft Aware retails for $13.55 for a license bound to one device, or $20.32 for a license that can be transferred from older devices to new ones.

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