Ina Fried

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Lookout Inks Deal With Sprint, Launches Safe Browsing Service

While consumers are trained to look for tell-tale signs of a phishing attack on the desktop, spotting a scam from a mobile e-mail program or browser can be a lot more difficult. It’s often hard to tell where a link will take you before clicking and there is no “green bar” to tell you that a site is indeed who it purports to be.

Lookout Mobile Security, a software company that specializes on smartphone security, is announcing on Wednesday its effort to make browsing on mobile devices a little safer.

The new “safe browsing” feature works by checking all links against its cloud-based database, including those within text messages, Facebook and e-mail messages and offering a warning when users click on a link suspected of being a scam. The company began developing the feature as a proof of concept back in February and on Wednesday it is being added as part of Lookout’s premium paid service.

“You can browse the web with confidence and we are here to cover your back,” CTO Kevin Mahaffey said in an interview. The company provides basic antivirus and antimalware software for free, with other features such as locating a lost device available as part of the paid service.

Lookout points to a recent study that shows that mobile users are three times more likely to submit their login information on a mobile device as they are from the desktop, where they are better trained and have better tools to determine which links are safe. Many desktop browsers have their own safe-browsing tools with features similar to those Lookout is bringing to Android.

Separately, Lookout is also announcing a deal with Sprint in which its app will be featured from within the Sprint tab of the Android Market as well as within the Sprint Zone app.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald