Onavo, the startup that first made its name with the data-shrinking app that it launched at The Next Web Conference two years ago, has today revealed a new iOS app called Protect, which is designed offer protection from phishing and malware-infected websites and from snoopers when using unsecured Internet connections.
Protect works by installing a custom profile on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. It then routes all your Web browser traffic (from Safari, Chrome or any other browser that you use, including browsers embedded in apps like Facebook) through a VPN with 1024-bit encryption that works for both mobile and WiFi data connections. This allows Onavo to encrypt the connection to offer enhanced security against anyone who may be sniffing around on an open WiFi connection to see what you’re up to online.
The app also puts blocks on malware-infected sites and phishing sites. To detect such threats, Onavo CEO Guy Rosen says that Protect ”employs proprietary heuristics we have developed, and augments them by aggregating existing databases.” The app itself lists every site or action that it has blocked for you.
While only available for iOS at first, Onavo plans to bring Protect to Android in the future. As with its other apps, Extend and Count, Protect is free, with the company making money from the reports it creates from aggregated, anonymized usage data. Onavo recently opened up a limited version of these reports by way of iOS app usage charts.
Of course, the usefulness of Protect depends on how much you trust Onavo, but the company has been running its data compression algorithms on millions of users mobile data connections for two years so this isn’t an area the company is new to.
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