McAfee embraces almost every device you own, offers one app to protect them all

According to some research conducted by security group McAfee, there are plenty of people out there with multiple devices, but not as many with security on all of them. For those – and everyone else – McAfee has come up with a solution, protecting as many devices as you own under one license.

If statistics from a survey on our technological usage are to be believed, over half of all Australians currently own between three and six devices per household, with almost a third of us going beyond six gadgets.

For some, that includes a phone, tablet, laptop, second phone, desktop, and a smart camera. We haven’t even included gaming systems, and there are people like this in offices across the country.

With so many devices, it’s interesting that the survey showed that the majority of devices that ran security software were PC laptops and desktops, with tablets, smartphones, and Mac users generally ignoring the need.

But it’s this need that could cost them, and as we store more and more information across these devices, as we leave digital memories, bank records, passwords, and scans of our passport, it’s the unprotected that are technically leaving a backdoor open for anyone who wants to get their mitts dirty and take, take, take.

“Despite many Australians admitting to placing a high value on their digital assets, many still leave their devices unprotected putting them at an increased chance of having something bad happen,” said McAfee’s Melanie Duca, Consumer Marketing Director for the Asia Pacific region.

Of course, one of the reasons we could be doing this stems from the fact that security on multiple devices can often be tricky and expensive, often relying on multiple problems.

From this week on, however, McAfee wants to try and change this.

The latest version of its security application – now called “LiveSafe” – aims to bridge the divide by offering protection for as many devices as you have, with applications for Mac OS, Windows, Android, Blackberry, and even iOS.

Some of the apps aren’t needed on all platforms, though, and while no major viral infections have been reported on the iPhone or iPad, McAfee is supplying password and critical cloud storage solutions on this platform, as well as Android, offering a degree of security on as many platforms as the company can.

We say “as many” instead of McAfee’s “all” because at this times, there is no support for either Windows Phone, though both Windows RT and Windows 8 are apparently supported.

Device installs will be handled through an online portal, and because the information will be similar across devices – like passwords – it should all be synchronised, thereby making it easier to access information from whatever device you own.

Hardware security is also included, thanks to Intel’s ownership of McAfee. Working at the processor level, McAfee will include location tracking and remote wiping support, provided the chip in the computer is part of the Intel Core or Atom family.

Also of note is the price, which looks to try and undercut the competition with a $19.95 12-month price.

It’s worth noting that McAfee experimented with this “all you can eat” idea before in last year’s “All Access” pack, which offered a one-year subscription to protect all the devices an individual owned for $149.95, while all devices in a household netted a $199.95 price tag.

At the time, we weren’t quite sure what the difference was, and so less than a year later, it’s nice to see McAfee knocking down the difference and making one package for a proper “unlimited” device amount.

That being said, McAfee’s new solution isn’t without its own catch, because while it’s easier to understand and even comes with a simple and inexpensive price, it also isn’t available by itself, at least not yet.

The McAfee LiveSafe solution will be available for $19.95 in July only when you purchase a new laptop, desktop, or tablet computer, with no boxed retail copies available at that time. When asked, McAfee couldn’t give us a firm date of when there would be a release onto shelves, and added that after the first year, subscribers with the solution would be paying $74.95 per year to keep using the LifeSafe system.

The other catch we’re not sure of is that of hardware: while Intel owns McAfee and has made strides to offer hardware-based security features in the form of remote wiping from a different location, this technology – at least from a laptop point of view – is based entirely on technology sitting inside Intel processors.

While there are easily a lot more Intel-based notebooks in the Australian marketplace, it means this feature will not work with AMD chips, or processors from any other company, and might be a deciding factor if purchasing for fear of stolen devices.

At this time, however, we haven’t seen another security provider offer remote deletion technologies for Windows or Mac based systems, with this feature only existing on Android devices when used with products competing from other security companies. Customers using the Prey Project solution can’t wipe everything either, with the system deleting cookies and passwords, but not wiping all data.

Regardless, new computer buyers should see this next month, and from what we hear, it will apply to all new computer buyers, regardless of if you choose a Dell, an HP, or even a Mac.