Verizon has introduced a McAfee-based Mobile Security app for its line of Android devices, with prices ranging from free to $1.99 a month. The carrier claims that devices are targets "of the same security and privacy threats that plague laptops and desktops," and while consumers haven't taken to antivirus software on mobile, companies like McAfee are striking deals directly with carriers.
Android represents a new market for antivirus companies due to Google's slow implementation of features such as device location and remote wiping — functionality that is sorely lacking from stock Android, but present for iPhone and iPad users. The rapid growth of the Android platform has forced Google to take steps to block potentially dangerous apps from the Play Store, but carriers like Verizon and Sprint have filled in the gaps by partnering with antivirus companies.
Verizon is offering two tiers of protection: Mobile Security Basic offers McAfee's antivirus and malicious website detection software, while Mobile Security Premium adds the ability to track what information apps are sending and receiving in addition to allowing users to locate, lock, or remotely wipe an Android device using My Verizon account details. The Basic package is available for free, with the Premium tier costing $1.99 per month per line. Verizon customers with Total Equipment Protection will pay a reduced rate of $1 per month per line for the Premium package.