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McAfee, one of the leaders in PC antivirus software, is launching a consumer-focused anti-theft app for the iPhone today. The new McAfee WaveSecure helps users protect their privacy and data in case their iPhones are lost or stolen.

The new product shows that PC-focused security companies are shifting their resources into mobile security as mobile computing devices begin to face the same kind of sophisticated cyber attacks as their PC brethren. If security and mobile companies act fast enough, they might even be able to create a worry-free environment for mobile phone users when it comes to feeling safe.

“We’ve been in mobile security for about 10 years, but we’re in a period of rapid changes now,” said Lianne Caetano, director of product marketing for McAfee consumer mobile solutions, in an interview. “Now we have a very heterogenous environment, and we have to make sure we work seamlessly.”

With WaveSecure, users can back up contacts, photos, and videos as well as remotely track the location of their iPhones via the McAfee WaveSecure online portal. Users can wirelessly restore their contacts, even to an Android device. If the device is lost, stolen, or damaged — or if the user accidentally deletes data — consumers can get their data back.


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“That’s important because these phones are extensions of who we are,” Caetano said.

Caetano says that the odds someone will lose a smartphone in a year are pretty good, and many users have a lot of business information on those phones. The cost of losing corporate data can be very high. Yet users have not been educated about adding protection to their phones, for the most part.

Santa Clara, Calif.-based McAfee got the WaveSecure technology via its acquisition of tenCube, the creator of WaveSecure, a year ago. WaveSecure backs up a user’s data and restores it if needed. The app is now available on the Apple App Store for $19.99. The WaveSecure product is already available on a number of other mobile software platforms.

Rivals such as Lookout Mobile Security offer a free download for its antivirus protection and then charge $29.99 a year for online backup and remote tracking of lost phones.

McAfee has had a mobile security product for a decade called Virus Scan Mobile, which was focused early on in the Symbian market and was extended recently to the Android mobile operating system. About a year ago, McAfee acquired Trust Digital to get an enterprise mobility product, dubbed Enterprise Mobility Manager. McAfee also has a mobile web security app called McAfee SiteAdvisor.

McAfee combined these offerings as a suite of products called McAfee Mobile Security in June, said Caetano. More apps are expected to be added to McAfee’s mobile suites over time.

The iOS app is available in English, Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French (European and Canadian), German, Greek, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Portuguese (European and Brazilian), Swedish, Spanish (European and Mexican) and Russian.

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