Intego Aims to Shut the iOS Pathway to Viruses

Mac security specialist wants to keep your cloud clean of pesky software bugs.

By , Columnist

Apple Inc.

Texas-based Mac security specialist Intego has launched a new malware scanner for Apple's iOS devices that should keep dastardly software bugs off your home computers. VirusBarrier iOS is based on VirusBarrier X6, Intego’s malware killer for the Mac OS X operating system.

Thanks to Apple’s strict certification requirements, iOS devices are generally considered to be well protected against malicious bit and bytes. Many owners of iPads, iPhones and the iPod Touch, however, use their devices to sync files to online services and download data to PCs and Macs. This gives $#*!y viruses an insecure gateway through which they can worm their way into corruptible systems. E-mail attachments, images, videos or documents that are infected can be uploaded to an iOS device and then transferred to a computer without being scanned by anti-virus or anti-spyware programs anywhere along the line.

Intego says that VirusBarrier iOS will help users to obstruct this pathway to infection by scanning in the cloud e-mail attachments, other files accessible on an iOS device or files stored with services such as MobileMe, Dropbox, web servers or WebDav. In addition to scanning compatible files for spyware, Trojan horses, adware, hacker tools, keyloggers and other malware, VirusBarrier iOS can also repair infected files, scan websites for phishing URLs, web threats, and malware and automatically update its database of virtual nasties.

If it sounds like VirusBarrier iOS does everything necessary to prevent transfer of infection short of putting a hand over your mouth, there are some downsides to note. For one thing, it can't scan files automatically because of limitations imposed by the iOS operating system. Users therefore have to remember to initiate a scan before sending a file on (on the upside, you might 'forget' if you don’t like the recipient).

Also, unlike PC virus scanning programs such as those produced by AVG and AVAST, VirusBarrier iOS is only free for a limited time. You can purchase the app for $2.99 in Apple’s App Store but it comes with only a one-year subscription to Intego’s malware definitions database. Then again, updates are currently priced at only $1.99 a year thereafter. That’s a lot cheaper than a box of tissues and a bottle of Tylenol.

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Michael Simpson is a freelance writer, editor, presenter, researcher, instructor, gadget freak and sci-tech consultant based in British Columbia’s beautiful Okanagan Valley. Formerly from the UK, he’s converted from tea to coffee and written and presented on film, TV, science, nature, technology,…

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