Ina Fried

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Mobile Security Firm Lookout Expands to the iPhone

After spending the last many months working to secure Android, Lookout Mobile Security is expanding onto the iPhone.

The company announced a new free app aimed at delivering protection for iPhone users, including help finding lost devices and protecting against attacks on iPhones that are still safe in their users’ hands. While the iPhone app is similar to what the company has offered for Android, there are some key differences.

“It’s not something where we have just taken the Android product and plopped it on the iPhone,” Lookout CEO John Hering said in an interview. One feature the company is not able to offer for the iPhone is its Plan B software, which allows a user to track down a lost Android phone even if they hadn’t planned ahead.

“I will be very excited if we figure out how to do that,” Hering said.

The software focuses on other areas, such as warning those who have a jailbroken iPhone about some of the added risks associated with that, as well as warning users when they are using an unsecured Wi-Fi network. The app also explains the concept of location-based services and offers details on which apps are making use of such services.

Over time, Hering said, the company hopes to establish for the iPhone a model similar to the one it has on Android — that is, offering a base set of services for free and then charging for more advanced features on a subscription basis.

“You should expect you will see a very similar path,” Hering said.

Hering declines to say whether Lookout is profitable, but he did say that the company is more focused on growth than it is on making a profit. The company has been racking up the funding, including a $40 million round announced last month.

The company currently has about 10 million users. Moving to the iPhone is key to its longer-term goal of reaching 100 million or more.

“The iPhone is going to be a huge step forward in that path,” Hering said.


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik