Security vendor Kaspersky Lab is looking to counter the rapidly expanding number of Android exploits coming from cybercriminals with its recent release of Kaspersky Internet Security for Android.

Smartphones and tablets are increasingly powerful, and are being used for more and more things, much like a computer. However, when it comes to security they’re often seen as weak-point. Users don’t always take the same security precautions they do on a laptop, such as installing endpoint security.

And Android devices, in particular, have proven a particularly tempting target for cybercriminals. According to Kaspersky, the number of malicious Android programs grew by a factor of six in 2012 over 2011, and accounted for 99 per cent of total mobile threats.

Kaspersky is looking to address this threat with the release of Kaspersky Internet Security. According to the vendor, the solution receives real-time updates from the cloud-based Kaspersky Security Network so it can respond quickly to emerging threats. It protects web browsing by detecting and blocking malicious web sites, and has integrated anti-theft technology to help users track and remotely delete lost or stolen devices. An alarm function can help find a nearby missing device, and a Mugshot feature discreetly activates the front-facing camera to take a photo of the phone thief. Even if the SIM cars is replaced, with the SIM Watch feature the phone can still be blocked, wiped and located.

“We always have our customers in mind when developing our security solutions, focusing on ease-of-use and providing the best security protection possible,” said Peter Beardmore, senior director of product marketing with Kaspersky Lab, in a statement. “With Kaspersky Internet Security for Android, customers now have one solution for both smartphones and tablets, with technologies that are optimized for each device. And with mobile devices increasingly becoming targets of cybercriminals, we’ve increased the number of features available in our free version, to keep all our users protected in the best way possible.”

Two versions are available – a free version with basic antivirus and remote management functionality, and a premium version with advanced antivirus mechanisms and tools to manage personal information. A one year license for the premium edition for two devices costs US$19.95.

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