SINGAPORE - A new service by M1, a first by a local telco, promises to alert customers within 30 seconds of malware infecting their mobile phones.
Available from Tuesday (Sept 26), M1's Mobile Guard service aims to give its mobile users peace of mind when surfing or downloading apps from the Web - for $2 a month.
The telco has about 1.2 million mobile postpaid subscribers.
Mr Alex Tan, the telco's chief innovation officer, said that the service provides "always on" malmare protection at the network level - an industry first.
Telcos typically offer an anti-malware app that must be downloaded on the phone. Users also need to click on the app to update the virus signatures, detect any hidden malware and clean up the phone of any infection.
"But would users run it daily, weekly or monthly?" said Mr Tan. "By the time malware is found, it would have lingered in the phone for days and done harm."
According to the latest Nokia Threat Intelligence Report, an average of 1 per cent of more than 100 million Web connected devices worldwide were infected monthly last year. More than 80 per cent of the infected devices over the mobile network were Android-based smartphones, and the rest were laptops and Apple iPhones.
A separate report by security software firm Trend Micro points to similar numbers in Singapore. About 5,000 app downloads or 1 per cent of all mobile app downloads in Singapore were infected with malware during the three months to June this year. Singapore's infection rate was less than half of Asia-Pacific's.
M1's Mobile Guard service takes the hassle out of users' hands by monitoring threats at the network level so users need not activate the anti-malware app until a threat is found.
Powered by Nokia's NetGuard anti-malware solution, Mobile Guard actively checks devices connected to M1's mobile network for signs of infection, and immediately sends out a notification to the mobile user by SMS or e-mail detailing where the threat lies.
Affected customers can download a Trend Micro app, provided free as part of the service, to remove the malware. Customers will get a Web link, where they can download the app and licence key for use on one mobile device.
The Trend Micro app works only on Android devices. Apple iPhones do not support such security software apps. The only way to clean up an infected iPhone is to perform a factory reset, and manually delete the infected app that contains the malware.