Lookout vs SMobile Security Shield: Anti-Virus And Anti-Spyware, Is There A Difference Besides Free?
I have been a big fan of SMobile Security and their products after using them for so long. I like the assurance of being able to look up current and past threats in the Global Threat Center for reference and information. There’s been a new product in beta that’s free which I’ve been reading about by the name of Lookout. For the sake of security I feel it’s important to have a product that works as you would expect. And while there are no viruses currently affecting the BlackBerry system, there is the threat of spyware.
In beginning my comparison, I have to look at the sites. SMobile has the business and personal choices, several tabs including Blog and Support. They have an online dashboard that you have access to. They also have the ability to run an “enterprise” where you can manage a dashboard and manage phones no matter what platform they are except for the iPhone. From there you can manage the phones similar to BES. They also have the Global Threat Center where all threats are listed with a description, much similar to McAfee.
So now a look at the Lookout site. The main page has Home, Learn More, Blog, and Help. There’s also Sign-Up and Login. By going through the site I can see that they include a dashboard, states it too can manage a varied platform of phones, gives the GPS tracking ability, wipe, and can back up contacts and pictures. It has an anti-virus and also a firewall. For me the firewall is something we all have on our BlackBerry device, but it isn’t activated by default. So now to download the product and find out how the dashboard and the app will work on my BlackBerry.
Now a little bit on the companies themselves. I’ll begin with Lookout. Lookout was founded in 2007 by a group of technologists. Their goal was to protect mobile devices with a comprehensive software suite that is simple, lightweight and effective. There’s no mention of their security specialists on the site that I could find. On the blog there are first names, but that was it.
SMobile was founded in 2002 and leads in comprehensive security solutions. The products they offer are AntiVirus, Firewall, AntiSpam, AntiTheft, Identity Protection, Enterprise Controls, and even software to monitor your child’s phone. Their customers range from governments and corporations to consumers and their families. The Executive Vice-President and Chief Technology Officer Dan V. Hoffman is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), a Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) and a Certified Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI). The Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer Paul Miller has been active in the security industry since 1993, specializing in mobile security for the last 12 years. Previously at Symantec, he was their Managing Director for Mobile Security with global responsibilities for their mobile strategy and business.
The reason I decided to put the two to the test is for the following reasons: First what if you or a loved one were to have an extremely jealous significant other? These spyware sites prey on the insecurities of such consumers using the trust issue. There has been more media coverage on it lately, including Good Morning America. It’s frightening, and it’s real. There have been cases of murder, stalking, etc with these types of spyware. With this in mind, it’s important that if you don’t password protect your phone, and you trust someone else with it, then you should be aware there are potential dangers. These spyware programs act similar to a trojan on a pc, stripping you of your privacy and leaving you completely vulnerable. With this they can read your texts, see your pictures, listen in on your conversations on or off the phone, track you, and access your emails. Because of the seriousness of such incidences, this is why I decided to put it to the test. To use a title of an Anti-Virus and Anti-Spyware then it should perform as such. McAfee is a product you’ve come to know, yet AVG does a fair job for being free. I went into this testing with an open mind and trust in both. Let’s see how the tests went.
For my testing I am using my BlackBerry 9630 with 5.0. I also installed five popular spyware (Flexispy, MobileSpy, PhoneSnoop, Flexispy Pro, and SpyBubble) that can be downloaded to the BlackBerry system, and this is what I found. The screenshots you will see will be from both the BlackBerry Device displaying the software app, scan and results, but also you will see screenshots of the Dashboard on the PC as well.
The test was done like this: The latest version of both anti-virus were installed on my BlackBerry Tour. One spyware was installed at a time and each anti-virus was run, one at a time to see if the spyware would be detected. At the end of the first run, I uninstalled both programs and reinstalled again. I downloaded the same spyware, and I ran the Lookout first.
The Lookout is free, yes, but guess what? I scanned twice and it said there was no infected files on my phone. Not one spyware that I downloaded was detected, and they’re all popular spyware! And not only that, it says everything is ok. I could see it missing one, but it didn’t even catch one. This concerns me as you could have spyware on your phone and it remains undetected. Now backup didn’t work for pictures either. I was somewhat let down over the results of my findings, but again the product is in BETA so perhaps with some time and work, it could evolve. Backup is only useful if you want your contacts backed up. If you’re a Verizon customer, use your Backup Assistant and you will have the same results free without having to download this software.
SMobile results. With SMobile I can update daily or hourly. I updated the anti-virus and began running the test. You have the option of which files to scan like a pc. As it scans, it shows all files and when it’s done shows you either clean or infected and which files. It names them for you, which it did, then I have two choices. I can click the options button and click delete virus and it will give you details about the removal. Or you can go to Options/Applications and remove them manually which will still require a restart of your BlackBerry.
So to conclude the findings, I will lay out what I observed. The chart displayed shows each spyware, the software and beneath I placed N/A if the spyware went undetected, and an x if it was detected. I was hoping that the Lookout would have caught at least one. As a result of this testing, I would definitely recommend that if you are looking for a real anti-virus/anti-spyware program for your phone and are truly concerned, I would invest in the SMobile Security Shield. The choice is yours but so is your peace of mind. It’s important when you are looking to protect your Blackberry and yourself that you find something that offers that solution. If you’re going to trust a product, be sure it’s one you can trust. And if it’s going to use the term anti-virus, be sure it does just that. You owe it to yourself and to your loved ones.
On a personal note, I was really stunned and felt so uneasy with knowing that an application that says it’s anti-virus did not catch such a threat. If I were in a serious situation and my privacy were in jeopardy, I would have a false sense of security to rely on Lookout. On the other hand, I felt so completely relieved each time the Shield found the spyware and removed it. We live in a society where we can be tracked and stalked not only in person, but cyber-stalked as well. I don’t let anyone play with my phone, but as technology advances, I feel best when I know that I am prepared. I ask you, is there a difference between a program that has an annual subscription and a program that is free? You decide.
***Something else I’d like to point out is that the majority of the spyware does not install in your downloads, while one or two may appear and need to be hidden from you the victim, the majority is found only in Options/Applications and is cleverly named as BlackBerry files, which appear to be part of the system. If you didn’t know what you were looking for, you would never know it was there. ***
Does anyone have any questions or thoughts about the testing? Please share.