Verizon has signed a deal with Lookout Security to provide a monitoring service for its Vcast application store, showing how security threats to Android mobile phones are turning into real concerns for network operators and those bent on stopping cybercrime.
Lookout offers a monitoring service and virus-scanning application for Android users, and it will also now be the security provider for Verizon’s mobile application store, it said in a release Wednesday. Lookout will scan applications in the store for malware and other threats to the phone before giving shoppers the go-ahead to download the apps.
Mobile security threats are still pretty rare, but the potential is clearly there when it comes to Android, an operating system for which anyone can create applications and submit them to stores like the Android Market and Vcast. And it’s not just a problem for individual phone users worried about having personal information stolen: carriers like Verizon could see their networks hobbled by rogue applications that consume huge amounts of data, affecting users who weren’t even infected by malware. Lookout said that 10 million people are using its mobile security software on their phones, and its scanning system covers more than 700,000 mobile applications.
Apple’s isn’t as concerned about iPhone security at the moment, since it insists on reviewing and approving every single application in its App Store and can therefore (theoretically) flag malware before it hits the store. But even iPhone owners could have to consider mobile security if mobile Web applications ever become widespread, although that’s still pretty far off in the future.