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Comcast Shields Smartphones, Tablets from Cybercrooks

Comcast on Thursday launched the Constant Guard Mobile app, available to Xfinity Internet customers for no extra charge, designed to protect consumers from identity theft and fraudulent Websites but which initially does not include antivirus features.

The MSO claimed that it’s the first ISP in the U.S. to offer such a mobile security app. Constant Guard Mobile, currently available only for Apple iOS devices, gives users a secure way to login to banking, shopping, email and social networking accounts and also proactively warns customers if a website potentially harbors malicious code or is otherwise unsafe.

The app includes features powered by McAfee’s SiteAdvisor, which provides website safety ratings and a secure search tool, and White Sky’s Protection Suite. Comcast said it plans to launch an Android version of the app in the next few months.

In addition, the MSO said it is working to develop versions of the app that include virus protection for “additional layers of security.”

“Cybercrime on mobile devices is a growing trend,” Susan Jin Davis, vice president of strategic services for Comcast Cable, said in a statement. “With Constant Guard, our goal is to make individuals and entire families safer online no matter what type of device they may be using.”

In 2011, data-security software vendor Symantec identified 315 vulnerabilities in mobile device operating systems, up 93% from 163 in 2010.

Also Thursday Comcast said it has enhanced the desktop version of Constant Guard by adding technology that helps prevent an emerging cybercriminal tactic called “screen logging,” in which a customer’s webcam is used to take pictures of the computer screen that may contain private data.

The desktop version of Constant Guard includes Symantec’s Norton Security Suite as well as features for protecting personal information like passwords, user IDs and credit cards.