On Wednesday, Symantec released a new version update to Norton Mobile Security. The main focus of this release highlights Symantec's goal to prevent apps from leaking private data.
With this version comes the debut of Norton Mobile Insights, the byproduct of a massive endeavor to analyze over 4 million popular apps across various app stores to determine whether an app puts users' personal data at risk. "The issue of privacy is a complex and evolving one, for both consumers and developers," said Con Mallon, Symantec's Senior Director and product manager. Mallon believes that users are starting to become aware that despite the prevalence of "free" apps, there really is "no such thing as a free lunch."
So which types of apps are more likely to leak private data? Games? Social Networks? In most cases, Symantec has found that it's usually not determined by genre, but rather boils down to the intentions of the developers, and in particular, how they monetize.
Symantec's release is just one sign of what's to come on the mobile horizon: Before mobile "threats" consisted of malware and viral attacks from unidentified parties or sources, but today they involve gray attempts to gather personal information.
Releases like NMS have demonstrated a shift toward not just idle protection, but also a more communication-focused approach to raise awareness of app behaviors. Symantec aims to show users that emerging software like Norton Mobile Insights is intended not to scare, but to inform consumers so that they can actually decide for themselves whether to keep an app or not.
Norton Mobile Security is available for $29.99 from Google Play. We'll have a more in-depth take and review posted soon.