AT&T to launch wireless security service in 2012

AT&T (NYSE:T) said it will launch a wireless security service for consumers next year as concerns about malware and viruses on mobile devices mount.

John Stankey, the president of AT&T's business solutions unit, said the company has seen a sharp uptick in attacks against mobile devices. The company already sells security software to enterprises, but has not yet driven directly at the consumer market.

"I do believe it'll become as relevant in the mobile space as it is today in the desktop," he told Reuters ahead of the Reuters Global Technology Summit, referring to anti-virus software for PCs. "You'll see that occur in the wireless world."

Typically, consumers have balked at paying for separate anti-virus software for mobile devices, figuring that the risk is minimal. Stankey said he thinks that attitude will change as more consumers become aware of mobile security risks--but that it will take time. "When you start asking them what's your willingness to pay for a solution, if they're not a little frightened, their willingness to pay is nothing," he said. "It'll take a little time for this in the mass market."

In February, security firm McAfee said mobile malware increased 46 percent in 2010 compared with 2009. Overall, the company said it uncovered 20 million new pieces of malware in 2010, equating to 55,000 new malware threats every day. Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) also has had to contend with malware on its Android platform, and in March pushed out an Android Market security update designed to undo damage caused by a wave of malware-infected applications. 

For more:
- see this Reuters article

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