Sybase iAnywhere bolsters mobile device security

Sybase iAnywhere is beefing up its Afaria mobile-device management software by adding antivirus and firewalling capabilities.

One of several applications that make up the company’s Information Anywhere Suite, Afaria lets enterprise IT administer a range of task around device security and management, such as authentication, encryption, and remote device “kill” if its stolen or lost. The company, a subsidiary of Sybase, Inc., now is incorporating software from SMobile Systems to run virus scans on the device and to handle two-way IP packet filtering and inspection.

The changes are two new optional programs, Afaria Antivirus Manager and Afaria Firewall Manager, that add significant new protections for the growing number of enterprise handhelds.

The antivirus program can do real-time scanning of any and all files received by mobile device, says Mark Jordan, senior product manager for iAnywhere, in Waterloo, Ontario. The code isn’t limited to referencing a database of virus signature, but can analyze the behavior patterns of the downloaded codes to identify and isolate potential problems. Jordan says iAnywhere is the first company to offer this capability for mobile devices.

The firewall can control all IP traffic to or from the device. That means you can set up a blacklist of IP addresses you want to block, but also white lists: only the listed addresses can be accessed. The firewall can also hold blacklists to block SMS, MMS, and calls from selected numbers or unknown users. If you ignore a call, the software flashes up a question: do you want to blacklist this call? Select “yes” and the number is added to the blacklist.

SMobile Systems, based in Columbus, Ohio, was founded in 2003 to develop power-efficient mobile security software for smartphones. The company crafted a suite of client/server applications, called SMobile Security Shield, which was launched in 2005. The software is available on a range of Windows Mobile, Symbian and BlackBerry phones.

In May, British Telecommunications announced it had selected Security Shield to protect Internet-enabled phones as part of its new BT Total Broadband Anywhere service. In April, SMobile said it had ported Security Shield to the Apple iPhone.

Other vendors with mobile security products include F-Secure, MacAfee, Symantec, and Trend Micro.

The new iAnywhere Afaria components run on Windows Mobile, Symbian, and BlackBerry devices. They are available now. Separately, each is $19 per device. Purchased as a package, the two are priced at $29. The separate Afaria client and management console are prerequisites.

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