Orange increases security for its Android customers

Orange increases security for its Android customers

Through a partnership with mobile security company Lookout, France-based mobile telecoms operator Orange will provide protection against malware, phishing attacks, data loss and privacy threats on a number of Android devices starting in 2013. This added protection -- which also includes Lookout's recently launched ‘Signal Flare' feature that helps users locate a missing phone, even when the battery has died -- will first roll out in the UK, France, Slovakia and Spain. However, Orange has plans to extend the service to other territories and to increase the number of handsets covered over time.

"It is critical we help protect our customers, and this partnership with Lookout allows us to provide additional protection for our customers without them having to take any action, or become experts on mobile security," said Paul-François Fournier, Executive Vice President, Orange Technocentre.

Orange's timing couldn't be better. On Monday, a UK survey by Crossbeam of over 1000 smartphone users found that security is the number-one reason that consumers cite for changing their network carrier. The poll revealed that 75.6 percent of all respondents would drop their current service provider if their operator-supplied smartphone was compromised by hackers, malware or other security failure. Indeed, although 63.7 percent of respondents said high monthly running costs could be a cause for dropping their carrier, only 6.8 percent of respondents said that a data plan limit would cause them to leave their provider -- 57.2 percent of those polled claimed never to exceed their data plan limits -- and only 6.2 percent saying they would be prepared to leave due to slow mobile download speeds.

Since October a number of high-profile research papers have been published highlighting the malware risks in Google Play, the apps marketplace for Android devices. An in-depth analysis of more than 400,000 apps on the store by Bit9 discovered that 25 percent were "suspicious" or "questionable" and, that as the average Android device user has 41 apps installed, 10 apps could pose a risk to their personal data.

Orange is yet to name which devices will carry Lookout's anti-malware protection.