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6/15/2011
11:34 AM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman
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Sprint Pushes Android Security App

Sprint is providing basic security protection for its Android smartphone users by offering Lookout Mobile Security for free.

Recent discoveries of malware in the Android Market should have businesses concerned. While Google has removed nearly 100 malicious applications from the Market in recent months, threats remain.

Enter Sprint and its new partnership with Lookout Mobile Security. The company is making Lookout Mobile's Android security app easily accessible to its customers for free.

The free--and somewhat limited--version of the software blocks viruses, malware, and spyware. It can also be used to backup and restore contacts; pinpoint a lost or stolen phone on a map; and emit a loud alarm to pinpoint the device's exact location. If you want more protection than that, you're going to have to update to the premium version of the application.

The premium version does a whole lot more, and is probably the wiser choice for businesses when it comes to protecting employee smartphones. First, it helps users understand which apps can access their private data. Even though apps provide a screen with permissions information before they are installed, it isn't always clearly defined.

The premium version also lets users backup not just contact data, but also photos and call history. The data is stored in the cloud on the Lookout website, which has a dashboard for backing up and restoring handsets whenever necessary.

It has the same location features as the free version, but adds the ability to lock or wipe a lost or stolen handset. This is key for business users. Since smartphones can store and access all sorts of enterprise data, protecting that data is paramount. If your business doesn't have a tool for managing smartphones, this simple piece of software can provide some peace of mind.

The latest version of the software also adds protection while browsing. For example, the safe browsing feature analyzes every site users visit in real-time to protect them against the latest online threats. Lookout mentions that users can click on links--even ones on Facebook--without fear. (Gee, is Facebook full of malware or something?)

Lookout says the application has been optimized for low battery consumption. It uses the same amount of juice that a 33-second voice call would. According to reviews posted of the application in the Android Market, it is well regarded by most users. It has earned an average 4.5 star rating from more than 190,000 users.

Here is a video of the app in action:

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