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T-Mobile beefs up Android security with malware protection

The carrier partners with mobile security company Lookout to preload free malware- and virus-protection software into select Android devices.

The LG Optimus L9 will come with preloaded security protection on T-Mobile.
Lynn La/CNET

T-Mobile is aiming to fortify the Android smartphones and tablets it carries by offering users free protection against malware and viruses.

The company announced today that it is partnering with mobile security company Lookout to help T-Mobile customers protect their devices with a product called Automatic App Security. The software will come preloaded on certain devices this year, and then T-Mobile will roll it out to most Android devices in 2013.

"As we rely more on our mobile devices, for everything from business to social to banking, it is increasingly important that we protect them from threats," CEO of Lookout John Hering said in a statement.

The way Automatic App Security works is it scans all apps that users download to make sure they're safe and malware-free. If the product detects any harmful apps, it will notify the user. Since the software will be preloaded and already turned on in smartphones and tablets, users don't need to register or set-up the feature.

T-Mobile isn't the only carrier that's trying to help its customers protect their devices from malicious malware. Verizon also recently introduced its Mobile Security app for Android, which is free and gives users basic antivirus protection and alerts.

Android devices are some of the most notorious for attracting malware. According to a report by McAfee last month, 13,000 types of mobile malware have been uncovered this year, which is leaps and bounds above the 2,000 discovered in 2011.

"During the past few quarters, we've seen that the Android OS is the most popular target for writers of mobile malware," McAfee's report said. "This quarter was no different; practically all new mobile malware was directed at the Android platform. The mix included SMS-sending malware, mobile botnets, spyware, and destructive Trojans."

T-Mobile plans to start preloading Automatic App Security on both the LG Optimus L9 smartphone and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 tablet in the coming weeks. Customers that have different devices can also download the security software from Google Play.