Would You Subscribe To Mobile Anti-Virus?

Vodafone is offering postpaid customers with Android phones the ability to add a McAfee Mobile Security subscription to their service for $3 a month. Is that a sensible investment?

First, the security argument. We've gone over this in some detail before, and the short answer is this: while you're unlikely to suffer security problems on your Android phone if you exercise a little common sense and check apps before installing them, there is some risk involved, and a security app can help mitigate it. Even if you're not especially worried about application security, it adds remote wipe and access facilities.

Secondly, the cost. It's $3 a month, though you can get the first month free if you sign up before the end of March. That actually makes it more expensive than an outright buy from McAfee ($29.95 for 12 months). However, as there's no long-term contract (you can cancel on a month's notice) it's a way of accessing the service on a shorter time frame. (If you use McAfee on the desktop as well, its All Access package might make more sense than separate subscriptions.)

Finally, the other conditions. It only works on Android 2.1 to 3.0 devices (so no luck for Nexus owners), and you can't access it on postpaid plans. One thing I didn't notice originally: All data usage associated with the app is umetered, which is a major potential benefit if you use the backup and scanning options regularly.

Given all that, would you sign up? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.



    This sounds/smells a lot like the BigPond Security fiasco...

    No I wouldn't. If I wanted to use this kind of software, theres no shortage of decent solutions available for free in Android Market; and regardless of cost - I still believe such software to be personally unnecessary.

    Telstra also sent text messages to customers yesterday suggesting that they download the Lookout Mobile security app for Android. This app scans all of your apps for malware and also allows you to locate and remote lock you phone via GPS. There is a free and paid version with paid giving more security options like remote backup and browser antivirus, but I grabbed the free version and it looks pretty good. It can't be a bad thing that telcos want to actively help their customers.

      actively help? more like cut a deal.

    Not a chance!

    I installed and subscribed to this app when it was Wavesecure. I uninstalled a year ago because I never needed to use it.

    I'm probably the biggest computer security freak and willing to spend a lot, but I'm not willing to put money into keeping my phone secure. I never use the internet on it (its always disabled) and I don't use phone apps. I have never had a virus on my phone before, so I don't see it as an issue for me, nor worth the money. I could use that money towards something better such as identity-theft monitoring which is rather cheap (something like $70 a year).


    Is this even a serious question?

    I think the value from this app comes from the ability to remotely track/lock/unlock/wipe the phone from your PC rather than the antivirus features.

    For any one who access email, face book or twitter or mobile banking via the phon eyou really should not treat your phone any differently to how you treat you laptop or home PC. I think people need to realise that the smartphone is a computer that also makes calls...ignore at your peril !

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