Since it became arguably the must have mobile phone and has been accepted as a general business tool, we have looked at the capabilities and offerings for the Apple iPhone at SC Magazine.
As an iPhone user myself, I am rather disappointed that I do not have the opportunity to utilise mobile security software on my device, partly from a reviewing perspective and partly from a personal security one. After all we preach about one of the cornerstones of being secure is making sure that your anti-virus is up-to-date, well if you have none then surely you are completely unprotected.
That is for another discussion, because one thing that is a positive for iPhone users is the launch of an application from Sophos. Called the ‘Sophos Security Threat Monitor' this is not anti-virus but a live update on live threats.
The description says: “We show you the source of the latest malware threats and provide advice on how to best combat them. In addition, we map the origin of spam messages so you can see where they're coming from.”
At only 302kb and with a four star rating, it takes only a few seconds to install and opening it gives me five pages – spotlight, threats, stats, maps and more. According to the company, ‘threat spotlight shows the most prevalent threats at any given time with the name of the threat, its alias, who is at risk and information on how to avoid becoming a victim'.
What this actually is, is a page with three threats at the time of writing, each with alternate names, details of who could be infected, how the threat is spread, what it does and what impact it has had.
Although interesting, other than researchers, analysts and journalists I do not really know who is going to be reading this sort of information - will a member of the public either understand or be bothered about Mal/Downldr-AC? Of course they should be, but they probably are not.
The threats page is more of the same with the top ten threats analysed by SophosLabs, with links to the details on each. A bit better than the previous page in my opinion, as it breaks down the threat into affected system, when it was classified, prevalence and its categorisation.
Stats gives you pie charts on the top email and web-based malware threats and the top spam relaying continents, while the maps page shows an interactive map to see where the malware is coming from, with its classification.
I will not be deleting the Sophos app immediately because it is helpful for me and saves me another trip to a research site looking at the latest threats. Plus it is easy to navigate and simple to understand, a tactic I suspect others will follow.
The specific nature of its language may put general users off though; you could argue that a dinosaur enthusiast, for example, would create an app that a more general user would not be interested in. To that I would agree, and I guess those who download the Sophos app will be those who actually want and are looking for it.