Vendor Plugs Mobile Device Security

Security software maker Mocana has announced an antivirus solution for Internet-connected devices that promises to secure pervasive computing environments.

But instead layering the security on top of an OS, or embedding it in another application, the technology is built into devices during the manufacturing cycle.

The NanoDefender application promises to protect any non-PC, Internet-connected device including smartphones and PDAs, as well as routers, printers, modems and even network gateways.

“This [software approach] avoids patch management and provides security to the pervasive computing environment as today’s antivirus signature-based solutions aren’t a good fit for protecting these devices,” CEO Adrian Turner told

While PC security is widespread, mobile device security is an increasing concern for enterprises eager for mobility but not eager for network attacks.

According to a recent McAfee survey 79 percent of mobile device users don’t use any antivirus or other security software on devices at all while 15 percent said they were unsure if their device had security software. An Insight Cypress study reported that remote workers regularly engage in risky behavior such as opening e-mails from unknown sources, using corporate PCs for personal activities and “hijacking” Wi-Fi connections.

“Mobile connected devices pose a huge potential backdoor for breaches and the traditional virus protection doesn’t scale or work well on mobile devices,” Kitty Weldon, principal analyst with Current Analysis, told

NanoDefender, an expansion of Mocana’s Device Security Framework intrusion detection and prevention product line, is embedded into a device’s operating system or application, and eliminates the patch approach needed with most antivirus applications.

According to Mocana the solution offers device makers an opportunity to provide a highest level of security that doesn’t impact performance, and avoids the pitfalls of traditional PC security tools that sap processor cycles, memory and electrical power.

Turner noted that devices bearing built-in security provides handset makers and network carriers a unique product differentiator in the competitive wireless space.

The application works by evaluating application activity, comparing it to a rules base of acceptable behavior and function. If something suspicious is detected, NanoDefender shuts down the application in use so potential malware can’t damage or corrupt the host device, or spread to other devices in the network.

The four-year-old startup already has an impressive device maker list in the works. Customers include Philips, Dell, Cisco, Nortel Networks, Harris, Honeywell, Symbol, and Radvision, among others.

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