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Internet Security And Backup Firms Facing The Mobile Frontier

NEW YORK – The exponential increase in the number of mobile computing devices and continued growth in social networking is creating a new wrinkle on two historical computing problems: Internet security and data backup.

Consumers’ ongoing lack of interest in ensuring that their computer is protected from viruses and malware tied to a general malaise toward backing up their data has extended itself into the mobile world, and this has spurred companies like Symantec, Trend Micro and Seagate to heavily invest in creating mobile tools that will encourage consumers to take the necessary precautions.

While cyber criminals initially shied away from attacking smartphones and tablets, these devices are now prime targets. In addition, attacks are now coming into the home via social-networking sites, where criminals have the ability to grab sensitive data via “likejacking” and malicious posts, said Robert Reynolds, Symantec’s Norton product manager.

“About 10 percent of those using social-networking sites have been impacted by some type of scam, and the vast majority realize that they are vulnerable, and 75 percent [of social network users] believe that people are targeting social sites. However, few use their privacy settings,” Reynolds said.

To counter these virtual home invasions, Symantec has included in its just-released edition the ability to scan for these nefarious acts. In addition, the software can also warn users of potentially risky sites that they are exposed to, and it tracks the IP’s online reputation.

Trend Micro has taken similar steps with its latest Titanium Internet Security Suite. It is able to scan a person’s Facebook account to check privacy and security for potential security breaches.

Trend Micro has also released the Trend Micro Longevity for Android and Trend Micro Backup and Restore apps. The former helps manage power consumption by identifying battery-hungry apps and notifying the user when they are active while the latter uses a Cloud based service to automatically backup photos and other data generated by a mobile device.

Seagate is also expanding its presence in mobile storage through a combination of Cloud and network-attached storage systems, said Scott Horn, Seagate’s marketing VP. The company believes that with only about 30 percent of computer owners regularly backing up their data, it is likely that even fewer people consider doing so on their mobile device.

“Mobile, Cloud and open-source software are changing the market and the customer base,” Horn said.

Consumers are still in the process of deciphering exactly what is Cloud-based storage and how to utilize the technology. The personal Cloud is another area Seagate believes will grow in the coming years as users want to directly access content stored in their home and also backup photos and videos taken with mobile devices.