OCShield is aiming to build a UK channel for its new cyber crime-busting mobile encryption product.
The Netherlands-based start-up has also launched a stinging attack on traditional anti-virus (AV) technology, claiming it does little to protect users from cyber criminals.
Founded in March 2010, OCShield has already constructed a UK channel for its desktop encryption product, selling through distributor Koch and retailers Dixons and Amazon.
It is now in the process of signing a UK distributor for its newly launched smartphone encryption offering, which it claims represents a much bigger opportunity for the channel.
Chief executive Martin Hain said: "We took a look at the AV products and determined they didn't have much use in stopping cyber crime. The proof is in the pudding: cyber crime has skyrocketed and is now running at $1tn a year – four times as big as the drugs trade.
"Data theft is taking place online – not on the computer – so we concluded that we needed to develop a security product that dealt with online data and not what happens on PCs."
Users enable the new smartphone offering, which runs on OCShield's encrypted network and is priced at $5.99, with a code.
Hain claimed that encryption, rather than AV, represents the future of smartphone security. The new iPhone 5 will prompt users to deploy encryption – and not AV – if they are on an unsecure network, and Android-based smartphones will do the same soon, he pointed out.
Hain continued his withering attack on AV vendors by claiming they are effectively "scamming" end users by billing their technology as capable of preventing cyber crime. "We are actually in conversation with one of the four largest AV companies as they would like to combine our product with theirs," he added.
Hain said OCShield, which is self-funded, has shifted 120,000 units so far. "We have had zero incidents of cyber crime. It stops dead all cyber crime on the internet," he said.
Rik Ferguson, director of security research at AV vendor Trend Micro, suspected Hain had drawn inspiration from recent comments made by Google's Chris DiBona - who accused AV vendors of being "charlatons and scammers".
Ferguson said DiBona was wrong to say AV vendors are stirring up FUD among smartphone users.
"Where offerings like OCShield fall short is in terms of mobile malware, which is increasing exponentially, particularly on the Android platform. Although the number may be lower than PCs, this growth is an expresssion of criminal interest."
Ferguson also hit back by suggesting that OCShield is over-playing its hand.
"Anyone advising that full security can be delivered through encryption alone is not being truthful," he said. "In any case, any good security suite from a content security player such as Trend should offer device encryption and many smartphones have the ability to encrypt network traffic built in."
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