Norton mobile security apps seek to stop smartphone theft

Symantec released survey results suggesting one in three U.S. citizens have had their phones lost or stolen.

Early Tuesday morning Norton announced results of a Strategy One survey conducted last September that suggest one in three U.S. citizens have had their cell phones lost or stolen.

Digging into the Strategy One survey results, it seems Miami is a hotbed of mobile misfortune, with 52 per cent of those surveyed reporting a lost or stolen smartphone during their lifetime. Following close behind are New York and Los Angeles with 49 per cent and 44 per cent respectively, proving major metropolitan areas are no slouch when it comes to smartphone skullduggery.

While Norton published the study as part of a product release, the numbers are a stark reminder that modern smartphones are packed with sensitive data that make them prime targets for identity thieves. Worse, more than half of those surveyed did not secure their smartphone with a password, and nearly 90 per cent did not install a security app capable of remotely locating, locking or wiping their smartphone in case of theft.

The survey dovetails nicely with the announcement of Norton Mobile Security 1.5, a security package that permits users to remotely locate, lock and even wipe the memory of their mobile device via text message.

In addition, the new Norton app packs a spyware scanner and an additional layer of call/text blocking features. A free trial version of Norton Mobile Security 1.5 that runs on both smartphones and tablets has been available in the Android App Market for months, and satisfied customers can upgrade to a one-year license once the beta period has ended.

Norton has a few more mobile security tricks up its sleeve to expand its Norton Everywhere Initiative, including the new Norton Mobile Utilities Beta Android app available today and the release of the Norton DNS 1.5 update later this week.

Those with a burning passion for domain name system security will be pleased to know the DNS 1.5 update includes the latest spyware signatures and adds more stringent content filtering options; far more interesting is the debut of Norton Mobile Utilities, a beta app that allows Android users to monitor data as it passes in and out of their smartphone. A true utility app, Norton Mobile Utilities monitors power, phone and data usage, as well as installing and uninstalling other apps to and from the SD card or onboard memory.

If it's too much hassle to seek out and install your own mobile security solutions, Norton has expanded their stable of retail partnerships across the globe to include Best Buy Canada, European retailer Dixons Retail, Kingston Digital and the Brazilian ISP UOL Inc. Such partnerships make it simple for consumers to install Norton software on their devices, but smart users know the same security tricks we've been using on our desktops for decades are equally appropriate for smartphones: keep your security software up to date, don't click through unsolicited or salacious links, and change your password regularly.

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