McAfee today launched LiveSafe, a new cloud-enabled, crossplatform security service for PCs, Macs, and mobile devices, with extra identification and anti-theft features for Ultrabook notebook PC users. McAfee LiveSafe will start shipping on Ultrabooks from Dell on June 9, before hitting retail stores as a packaged product in July.
With the new LiveSafe, McAfee is stepping further beyond traditional "thick client" security software into the cloud-based scenario already embarked upon with McAfee All Access, said Gary Baker, McAfee's VP of global consumer marketing, in a briefing and demo for NotebookReview in New York City.
For an annual subscription fee, users will receive security services for unlimited numbers of Windows PCs (XP through Windows 8), Macs, and mobile devices. Although features vary according to device, McAfee is supporting Android, iOS, BlackBerry, and Kindle Fire platforms.
Some 60 percent of consumers world own three or more Internet-enabled devices, according to McAfee's 2013 Digital Assets Survey, also released today. Davis also pointed to projections from Gartner of 203 million tablet shipments this year and 9.6% growth in the mobile phone market.
Specific services of McAfee LiveSafe include McAfee Personal Locker, McAfee SafeKey, and McAfee Anti-Theft, he said.
Some of the features available for PCs and Macs have become standard in McAfee software. These include antivirus, antispyware, and antiphishing protection; a two-way firewall; parental controls, and Web site ratings.
For smartphones and tablets, features of LiveSafe include antivirus safeguards, "locate, lock and wipe," data backup and restore, Web and app protection (Android only), and call and SMS filtering (Android and BlackBerry).
Through the new McAfee Personal Locker services, users can obtain encrypted storage for up to 1GB of highly sensitive documents, accessing the docs through a combination of face recognition, voice recognition, and PIN.
In a demo, Davis showed how you can access a doc from an iPhone. After you successfully enter a PIN, LiveSafe uses both face and voice recognition, amounting to three-factor authentication. LiveSafe asks you to read aloud randomly selected text passages to authenticate your voice. If your face or your voice is not a match for the biometic data enrolled in the system, you won't get in.
McAfee SafeKey, a feature first introduced in McAfee All Access, is designed to securely manage passwords and user names while also storing sensitive information like bank and credit card account numbers. In LiveSafe, it supports PCs, Macs, iOS, Android, and the Kindle Fire.
McAfee Anti-Theft offers capabilities for remotely locking and disabling devices, locating devices, and automatically encrypting and recovering data.
McAfee LiveSafe also takes advantage of antitheft and identity protection technologies built into 4th generation Intel core processors found in current Ultrabook models. "McAfee Anti-Theft works with all the Intel devices which support this technology. It is possible that a non-Ultrabook may support this technology [and] therefore McAfee Anti-Theft will work. McAfee Anti-Theft uses hardware features supported by Ultrabook," explained Yogesh Jain, group product manager at McAfee.
For multi-factor authentication, McAfee has combined Intel's IPT (Identification Protection Technology), a tamper-resistant hardware authentication mechanism, with face and voice recognition.
Users can also enroll their biometric credentials from an iOS or Android device, or from a non-Ultrabook device, "but in this case they need to provide PIN details," said Jain.
Although Ultrabooks from Dell will be the first to ship with LifeSafe aboard, McAfee plans to gradually roll out the technology to Ultrabooks from all major manufacturers -- including Acer, Lenovo, Asus, Toshiba, and Fujitsu, for example -- by the end of this year, Davis told NotebookReview. "This will be an OEM by OEM decision," he elaborated.
McAfee, an Intel-owned software company, will co-merchandise LiveSafe with Intel through an "awareness program" in retail stores.
LiveSafe will also be available as a packaged product for $19.99 for a 12-month subscription when purchased with a new PC or tablet and $79.99 for a 12-month subscription for an existing PC or tablet.
The package sold at retail, though, will include an activation key only, without a CD, Davis said.
McAfee does not plan to sell LiveSafe direct over the Web, as it does with McAfee All Access, he told NotebookReview.
At some point, though, McAfee will probably "converge" the two products, he said.
All LiveSafe users will receive free technical support. Ultrabook users, though, will also be entitled to Premium Support. "McAfee LiveSafe customers receive free support for the life of their subscription. Support is delivered via phone, chat, email and online FAQs," said Jain. Premium support, on the other hand, "includes McAfee Security Advisor service, which offers Ultrabook users the added benefit of immediate answers to all of their security questions."
Davis told NotebookReview that McAfee has no plans at this time to integrate technology from Stonesoft into its long-time two-way firewall.
McAfee acquired firewall technology specialist Stonesoft last week. However, the acquisition was "more of a B2B play" aimed at buttressing McAfee's enterprise security products, Davis said.
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