Mobile phone operator Orange has made a "strategic investment" in mobile security company Lookout, and will pre-load the software on all Android phones in UK from early 2013.

Orange invests in Lookout
Mobile phone operator Orange has made a "strategic investment" in mobile security company Lookout.

With Android malware on the rise, consumers are becoming more aware of the threat to their smartphones from cyber-criminals. Malicious apps, phishing attacks and simply losing your phone are all problems facing smartphone users today.

Lookout, which has over 30 million users around the world, is one of the leading players in the mobile security business, and unlike companies like MacAfee, F-Secure or Symantec, it is completely focused on mobile.

The "strategic investment" in Lookout by Orange was made by the operator's venture capital fund Orange & Publicis which is managed by Iris Capital. Orange refused to say how much it was investing in the company.

Alex Abey, VP of Business Development at Lookout, told IBTimes UK that it was Lookout's customer base and its global reach which enabled it to protect its customers.

"It is almost fair to say that every Android app in the world exists in our cloud. We are then able to look at those apps in the cloud, decompose them and use that to protect users across our network. We've got over 30 million users of Lookout at this point, almost everywhere in the world and that gives us amazing insight into the footprint of applications, and potentially malicious applications around the world."


Lookout's Android mobile security app will be pre-loaded on all supported Android phones in the UK, Slovakia, Spain and France from early 2013. Customers will only get access to the features available in the free Lookout app, but can upgrade to the Premium version.

The Premium version includes a Safe Browsing feature, the ability to remotely lock and wipe your device if it is stolen, as well as the ability to back up your photos to the cloud.

When asked why Orange felt now was the right time to partner with Lookout, Xavier Perret, VP of Strategic Partnerships at Orange said that the make-up of the Android user base had changed from what it was a few years ago.

"There are a lot of Android devices in mature markets today, more than 50 percent. The [customers] who are using Android smartphones, are not the customers of two years ago - the geeks. We are selling Android smartphones to different segments of the market that are less mature in terms of internet browsing, especially in terms of mobile."

He said that these customers wanted a simplified user experience and rather than having to go the Play Store to download the app, it would be pre-loaded on the phones already.

Perret points out that for a number of years now, broadband providers have been bundling anti-virus and filtering software with their offerings and so this is a natural move for Orange.


Lookout already has a similar partnership with T-Mobile in the US, and in the UK, customers of Orange, T-Mobile and EE will all get the Lookout app pre-installed on new Android phones from 2013.

Last month, security company F-Secure released its latest figures related to malware on the Android platform and showed that instances have jumped ten-fold in the past three months from 5,033 to 51,477.

According to Abey, it is the "holistic" approach to phone security which attracts people to Lookout's platform. As well as simply scanning apps you download for malware, Lookout also protects you from malicious websites and helps find your phone when you lose it.

"Over the course of a year, 40 percent of users come across a link that Lookout blocks for the - that is a very real threat. Another interesting statistic is Lookout finds a phone every three seconds for users somewhere in the world - which is nine million or more over the course of a year."