AdaptiveMobile acquires Sentry Wireless

22 Jun 2011

Dublin-headquartered mobile security player AdaptiveMobile has bought Digital Hub-based Sentry Wireless for an undisclosed sum. Sentry has developed handset security technologies, such as anti-spam and anti-bullying software, and in recent years scooped top awards at GSMA Asia.

The acquisition will enable AdaptiveMobile to help operators provide consumers with handset applications to report mobile spam, manage their privacy and personal data, and be protected against new threats.

Following consumer research from AdaptiveMobile that found consumers now fear spyware, rogue apps and loss of data more than they do the loss of the handset itself, operators are looking for an all-embracing security platform that will help them preserve subscriber trust in the network.

“As the number of mobile threats and their complexity continues to increase, the question of subscriber trust in their chosen network provider is a critical concern,” said Brian Collins, chief executive officer of AdaptiveMobile.

“With applications being downloaded onto subscribers’ devices over the mobile network, and malware reaching record levels, the liability paradigm is moving to the operator. In order to help operators remain a step ahead of mobile security threats and in response to consumer demand for increasing levels of protection, AdaptiveMobile can now empower operators to provide their customers increased flexibility in managing their personal controls, addressing infected or compromised devices, and in preserving subscriber trust through reporting and feedback.”

With the acquisition of Sentry Wireless, AdaptiveMobile will provide operators with white-label applications subscribers can use to report SMS spam, check the validity of a downloaded app, and be notified securely by their operator if their handset is detected to be compromised.

In addition, the handset applications will allow individual subscribers and their children or companies and their employees greater control of who can contact them, when and for what reason.

The research also confirmed cyber criminals are shifting their focus to smartphones and tablets, with mobile malware alone up by 33pc in 2010 from the previous year, with  particular focus on new mobile operating systems, such as Android.

This focus is driven by the greater potential for return from illicit activity on mobile networks, with criminals taking advantage of existing mechanisms to extract money, such as premium-rate numbers and SMS shortcodes.

The mobile risk for consumers

The risk for consumers is that “free” mobile security apps advertised online can be hostile applications that will infect the device, and that SMS notifications from operators may be faked.

As a result of the acquisition of Sentry Wireless, as well as protecting their subscriber base from the core of the network, mobile operators will now also be able to provide secure and timely feedback to their subscribers when they become infected, and, where necessary, disinfect comprised devices on their network through a patented disinfectant process to remove malicious software and rogue applications.

“Having focused on building handset-based solutions for parental controls, app disinfection and SMS spam detection, we are delighted that AdaptiveMobile has recognised the unique IP and approach of Sentry Wireless, and has decided to incorporate this within its Network Protection Platform, a globally deployed network solution for mobile operators, protecting 700m subscribers around the world,” said Matt Norton, chief executive officer, Sentry Wireless.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years