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Information Unleashed

Norton Spot By Symantec Leads New Technology For Mobile App Security Insight

Created: 25 Apr 2014 • Updated: 28 Apr 2014
Solange Deschatres's picture
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This blog was authored by Con Mallon, Sr. Director of Product Management, Mobility Solutions, at Symantec.

Symantec recently published an updated version of Norton Spot in Google Play (US-English only), and with it, turned the traditional Android mobile security model on its head with a new take on how we use our Mobile Insight technology.

Norton Spot is running a beta app that scans for problematic apps before you download them to your device. There are many mobile security products for Android, all of which take a similar approach when it comes to scanning apps for malware and privacy: the customer downloads and installs the app from an app store and at the point of installation, the mobile security product scans the app and notifies the user as to whether it is malicious. There is also a smaller subset of these products, including Norton Spot that provide the next-level of information on the app. For example, is it greyware (a malicious software or code that falls into the "grey area" between normal software and a virus), does it leak personal information, when was the app created? Norton Spot does this by leveraging a great Symantec asset called Mobile Insight. The Security Technology and Response Team (STAR) has spent the past three years developing Mobile Insight into a best-in-class repository for security and privacy information on Android apps.

The beta app is being called "App Scan” at the moment. What differentiates the Symantec beta product is that, for the first time ever, we are now providing information on Android apps to users before they download the app -- a subtle but very significant change. We can now provide information to the user on the app when they are in the app store and as they are browsing through apps. No one else in the market has taken this approach; according to our knowledge of the market to date, this is an offering unique to Symantec. 

Innovation is often characterized by a small number of people coming together to do big things. The initiative for App Scan is a great example of this. In a matter of a few weeks, a small team took a proof-of-concept and prepared it to become an app for beta testing with our customers. Our plan is to use the next few months to iterate and test the user experience and capability of App Scan within Norton Spot.

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And, there is more to come – last week, we released Norton Mobile Security 3.8.6, which also leverages the power and potency of Mobile Insight, providing customers with information on the performance implications of their Android apps. We will show them the impact on both their battery and data plan as a result of installing an app on their device. NMS 3.8.6 will also be a seminal release -- with one client we will address different and distinct customer segments: consumer, small business and enterprise.

These are exciting times for Symantec in Mobile. We are striking out in a direction that others will find hard to follow -- with an intelligent mobile client that understands the context in which it is being used and adjusts entitlement, management and product functionality as needed. Our innovations will allow us to provide a broader scope of protection to our mobile customers.

Please note that the new Spot app is available only in the US GooglePlay store. We are looking to expand it to other English language app stores, including: UK, Australia, India and Hong-Kong.