New app safeguards airtime from 'disappearing'

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Mobile solutions firm RND Labs has introduced Guardian, an app aimed at safeguarding mobile users' airtime from disappearing.

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Established in 2006, RND Labs is a mobile technology and software-as-a-service company which is the development arm of Johannesburg-based mobile content and applications firm Rate 'n Date Mobile.

The new app works by identifying when an unauthorised attempt is made to subscribe a user to a mobile subscription platform, according to the company.

South African consumers often complain about their airtime and mobile data depleting far too quickly. While there are many causes for disappearing airtime, RND Labs believes the main cause is bots on the device, often disguised as useful apps, that can cause the device to subscribe to a wireless application service provider, without the user being aware.

Another cause is viruses accessing the user's Internet connection and consuming airtime or data.

Described by its developers as an 'anti-virus app for airtime'; Guardian scans, notifies, detects and removes malicious apps that deliberately set out to deplete a user's airtime and data.

"We hope Guardian will emerge as the leading locally-developed Android app aimed at protecting mobile users from inadvertently downloaded malware. Airtime is a de facto currency today and its theft has a real adverse financial impact on millions of people," says Laurence Seberini, director of RND Labs.

The app uses Android real-time tools to monitor the data requests of all apps, to identify a subscription attempt, he adds.

High-definition video content, faster networks and automatic software updates are other things that could consume large amounts of data.

Guardian is currently available free on the Google Play Store, to the first 1 000 users. It will soon be charged at R9.99 per month with the first 30 days free. The app is only available to users of South African mobile networks, except for Telkom.

Seberini says Guardian is the only locally-developed anti-malware app that notifies the user of potential threats in real-time, while offering the fastest way to neutralise them. RND Labs hopes to work more closely with the telecoms sector in future, he adds.

"The growing challenge of malware and ransomware inadvertently downloaded from app stores by unsuspecting mobile users requires effective responses from the local mobile content and applications industry.

"Currently, telecoms companies have invested in technology on the network side to identify suspicious activity and to protect the user, but this is a defensive strategy. By removing the bot you solve the cause of the problem," concludes Seberini.

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