Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you

McAfee email, SMS scam protection coming for Android, iOS

Deciding whether you should click the link in an email or SMS isn’t always easy, but there may be an app solution coming.

When it comes to blocking security threats on a computer, there are plenty of solutions. Over on mobile? That’s a whole different topic.

While we can (and do) write endless amounts of articles instructing people what to look for in a mobile scam, how scammers are trying to trick with urgency, why you shouldn’t try to bait them, and ultimately how you can check the URL if you did accidentally click on a scam, the fact of the matter is that sometimes these things are really difficult to tell.

Scammers are getting better, and their scams can be complicated to decipher and work out whether they are legit or the very opposite.

Up until now, most security providers have largely been powerless to stop this on a mobile, due to how different mobile phones are to computers.

Rather than allow software to link and scan other areas as it can on a computer, phones like the iPhone and its iOS environment are more sandboxed and stuck in their own silo. The nature of this style of operating system means security software makers can’t always take a peek in at an SMS or look at an email in a different app as easily as they could with a computer, preventing security software on a phone from being as proactive as consumers might want.

But change is coming, and it seems as though McAfee might have a leg up.

A new app and service is on the way with McAfee’s AI-powered Scam Protection, an addition to McAfee Security and McAfee Mobile Security, dependent on the platform it’s used on.

The app will see messages in email and text checked on supported devices, which at release works on Chrome, Safari, Microsoft Edge, and Firefox on desktops, and also Android phones in the mobile space. Owners of iPhones and iOS devices aren’t being left out, either, with support for SMS filtering on iOS being added to the service in October.

Essentially, McAfee is having its software check a message through either text or emails, and block the link accordingly if it’s risky.

“Australians need cutting-edge AI solutions to proactively protect themselves in real-time,” said Tyler McGee, Head of APAC Sales for McAfee.

“McAfee Scam Protection combines advanced AI and expert human intelligence to intercept fraudulent emails, texts, and social media threats,” he said. “This ground-breaking technology’s greatest advantage lies in its automatic operation, relieving users from the need to be constantly vigilant and anxious. We’re confident it’ll enhance the lives of Australians with top AI tools for online safety, empowering them in our connected world.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen AI used to prevent scams, with Norton rolling out a scam checker using AI in a browser earlier in the year. Norton’s take did have an app, but it didn’t act as an automatic checker, requiring you to snap a screenshot or copy and paste text in. However, McAfee’s use of AI inside of a mobile app to check scams that you’ve seen come in directly to your phone is a little new, and makes it a bit of a first.

You can probably expect more to follow in the coming weeks and months, and with scammers using AI for their own benefit to make more convincing scams, it couldn’t come at a better time. The year isn’t even over, and ACCC’s Scamwatch has already reported over $360 million lost due to scams, and that’s only the reported number.

McAfee’s Scam Protection won’t be free, mind you, arrive with a free seven day trial, but after than costing $3.99 per month or $44.99 annually. However, it will also form a part of McAfee’s Security app and service, so if you already have one, you’ll very likely also have the other shortly, too.

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