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Lookout Mobile Security has raised $40 million in a new round of funding led by Andreessen Horowitz, the venture fund co-led by Silicon Valley uber investor Marc Andreessen.

That’s a nice vote of confidence for San Francisco-based Lookout, which makes security software for smartphones such as Android mobile devices. Now that mobile phones are becoming a dominant computing platform, protecting them from threats is becoming a lot more important.

Lookout protects more than 12 million smartphone and tablet users from malware, spyware and identity theft attempts. It also backs up personal data and can quickly locate a lost or stolen phone. The Lookout app is powered by Lookout’s cloud-based Mobile Threat Network, which analyzes global threats and quickly blocks them with over-the-air updates to smartphones. That means Lookout can detect and deal with threats within minutes.

Current investors Khosla Ventures, Accel Partners, and Index Ventures also participated in the round. The company said the funding will create new products, expand worldwide, and hire more people, said John Hering, chief executive and co-founder. Jeff Jordan from Andreessen Horowitz will join the company’s board.

Gartner expects mobile phone shipments to hit a billion in 2015, far outpacing PC shipments. But the incidence of malware is increasing rapidly on phones. Lookout’s users are on 400 mobile networks in 170 countries. Lookout has raised $76.5 million to date.

Here’s an interview we did with Kevin Mahaffey, chief technology officer of Lookout, at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas in August.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=55ECWKynrnM]

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