Malwarebytes has announced plans to enter the mobile security race, confirming the company's intention to create a new Android virus database and app by the end of the year.
The firm's chief executive Marcin Kleczynski unveiled the firm's plans in an interview with V3, confirming that the app will be a launch point for a wider push into the enterprise security market. He added that the recent increase in the number of Android tablets and smartphones being used for business purposes has finally made the market valuable enough to be worth entering.
"We've ignored mobile for some time, but now as more tablets are coming out there's a reason. As this shift happens more and more malware writers will start focusing on [mobile devices], sending threats via SMS, finding exploits for Android and iOS," Kleczynski told V3.
Kleczynski said the app will offer businesses unparalleled antivirus protection being powered by an advanced custom-built Malwarebytes virus database. "We've hired a mobile researcher as we really want to get into detecting mobile threats. But instead of just buying a database, like many antivirus companies do and just plugging it into an engine for Android, we're starting from scratch," he said.
"Buying a database is bulky, you don't see what you're buying, so we're adding the threats as they come and we're creating our own database. It's not ready yet, it needs to grow and it's something we're going to be working on for the next couple of months. We're shooting for an early July or end of August release for beta."
The initial app will feature a bare-bones scanning tool, though Kleczynski confirmed plans to rapidly release new add-on services for sale in the B2B market. "Our core product is going to be completely free for mobile, but in the enterprise space, for things like remote wipe, we're going to charge. We already do business packages for B2B and it'll be included in those," he said.
Kleczynski promised the features will help businesses deal with a variety of mobile security issues, such as a lost or stolen work phone. "Every day we hear about a corporate phone getting stolen and that's deep crud right there, you we really need to be able to remote wipe the phone here and that's one of the things we want our product to be able to do, so sensitive data can be remotely wiped," said Kleczynski.
"We want to make it so phones can't be infected, sensitive data on the phone can be remotely wiped, we want to do some web filtering as well, making it so you can't access certain websites on a work phone, and offer a lot of corporate control features to customers. That's our end goal for the product, but initially we're going to launch with a scanner to wet our feet in the market and see what's out there for us."
Looking to the future Kleczynski said traditional attacks on PCs will continue to be a problem, predicting criminals' use of complex rootkits will cause IT administrators no end of trouble.
"Things are getting more and more sophisticated, my prediction is that rootkits are going to become more common and as soon as you wrap a rootkit around regular, ordinary malware it's there to stay," he said.
"As soon as a rootkit comes into play antiviruses struggle, you can't remove it manually. You wrap some malware or adware round it and you've got something that's going to stay on that system, that's what's scary. As that becomes more common or is sold more that's going to be a problem."
Malwarebytes planned launch comes during a boom in the number of Android malwares active in the wild. Most recently competing security vendors McAfee and Kaspersky listed mobile malware as one of the biggest threats facing businesses, in their respective Q1 2013 threat reports.
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