Singapore's mobile network operator M1 has introduced a new service that allows detecting malicious software on mobile phones.

M1 on Monday launched Mobile Guard, a network-based mobile malware detection tool to track down spiteful activities on a phone. The company's chief innovation officer Alex Tan says Mobile Guard will notify impacted users "within 30 seconds to a minute".

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Tan adds the tool is not a reactive solution wherein detection of malicious activities will only be discovered once running it, which most antivirus software does. He stresses that Mobile Guard uses network detection capabilities through Nokia's NetGuard Endpoint Security to keep tabs on the mobile network for suspicious activities.

Japanese security company Trend Micro revealed in its first-quarter threat report recently that more than 47 million malicious mobile apps were downloaded in Asia Pacific. This figure is far bigger than North America at 8 million and Latin America at 6 million.

Nokia uses its global source of threat signatures to monitor abnormal network activities. With its technology, M1 could track down the source of possible malware attacks. Once confirmed, users will be informed of the said activity with a guide on how to remove it.

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M1 also covers phones and other devices linked to a single account which is ideal for parents to monitor and protect their children.

"This allows those with kids under the same account, for example, to know if their children are installing apps with malware," says Tan.

M1 customers can avail Mobile Guard for SG$2 (US$1.48) per month only. This includes a licence key for the Trend Micro antivirus software.