McAfee on Tuesday rolled out McAfee All Access, a new security solution supporting unlimited numbers of PCs and Macs — along with smartphones and tablets running on the Android, Symbian, and RIM BlackBerry OS — at per user subscription pricing of $99 per year.
Unlike competing “cross-device” security solutions recently announced by Symantec and Kaspersky, McAfee All Access is available immediately, said Gary Davis, senior group manager at McAfee, in a briefing for NotebookReview.com.
“Today, multiple devices are the norm,” Davis contended, citing an industry study by Forrester Research showing that some 60 percent of all American households now own three or more Internet-connected devices.
Users ‘don’t worry much’ about protecting Macs, tablets and smartphones
Households owning PCs average four Internet-connected devices, according to the analysts at Forrester. Households with smartphones in their midst average 6.2 devices, whereas among households owning tablets, the total number of devices leaps to 8.3.
Still, though, in a recent survey by McAfee, less than 50 percent of respondents said they buy security solutions as the main way of protecting devices, even though 86 percent of them agreed that purchasing this protection is “money well spent.” Many users are relying on free security tools, or combining free and paid solutions. Lots of devices aren’t protected at all.
In the same survey, respondents said that their “digital assets” are worth an average of more $37,000 to them in “financial and emotional value.” Assets rating especially high on that scale included personal memories such as photos; personal records, and “career information” like resumes.
Malware and other security problems aren’t restricted to Windows PCs alone, Davis maintained. According to threat reports issued by McAfee Labs, Android malware bugs increased about 76 percent from the second quarter of 2010 to the same quarter a year later. As early as 2010, McAfee counted 5,000 versions of malware for Apple Macs.
According to McAfee’s own survey results, however, 40 percent of respondents said they “do not worry much” about protection of Macs, tablets and smartphones.
Different devices, different security strokes
Protections for Windows PCs include the same two-way firewall and data shredder that are featured in Microsoft AntiVirus Plus, along with anti-virus, anti-spyware, anti-phishing, and anti-spam capabilities; blocking of sites infected with malware; file encryption, PC optimization, and online backup tools; “family protection,” for safeguarding kids on the Web; and “home network protection,” aimed at preventing incursions through wireless connections.
On the Mac side, security features include anti-malware protection; a firewall; anti-phishing tools, and Web site ratings for helping to figure out whether sites are safe or malicious. McAfee All Access also provides family protection for Macs, but in English-language versions only.
Protections for Android mobile devices include anti-virus, anti-spyware, and anti-phishing tools; mobile device lock; backup and restore of mobile data; location and tracking of mobile devices; uninstall protections; remote data wipe from the mobile device; parental controls; and Web site security ratings. Symbian and BlackBerry OS devices get all of these capabilities, aside from parental controls and Web site safety ratings.
For the moment, at least, McAfee All Access won’t support Apple iOS devices such as the iPhone, iPad, and the iPod touch. McAfee, though, has been talking with Apple about some possibilities in this direction, according to Davis.
Davis also affirmed that McAfee will provide security solutions in the future for Windows 8, an upcoming OS aimed at working across both PCs and tablets. “This will be incumbent on us. Just because it’s going to be a new OS, that won’t necessarily make Windows 8 less vulnerable to attacks,” he added.
McAfee is also offering a family version of McAfee All Access, providing unlimited device protection for up to five users at annual subscription pricing of $149.99.