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Nortel and Websense talk up mobile phone security

Nortel and Websense have signed an agreement to develop web content filtering technology to protect GSM/UMTS mobile handsets from receiving and accessing unwanted content.

The move was given a qualified welcome by industry experts. "Wireless service providers and subscribers alike are finding their handsets increasingly receiving unwanted or even malicious content from spammers, hackers or overly aggressive marketers," said Brian Burke, IDC.

"Combined with a number of worldwide initiatives by wireless providers to block the delivery of pornographic content to handsets in use by underage individuals, this announcement is all the more timely and relevant."

Under the terms of the collaboration Websense URL filtering technology will be combined with Nortel's GSM/UMTS wireless packet core system (GGSN platform) and is expected to be made available to operators by the end of 2005.

The Nortel-Websense URL filtering and security technology aims to protect mobile handsets and devices from content that could interfere with voice and data services and also block downloading of malicious code. It will allow GSM/UMTS wireless operators to set mobile handset and device internet access policies for subscribers across three URL filtering categories – security threats, adult materials, and undesirable content. Each category will contain content in a variety of sub-categories to allow for flexible and carefully defined policy settings.

To protect themselves from threats and unwanted content found on high security risk websites, mobile subscribers will be able to request the operator to automatically block malicious content from reaching their wireless devices. Further, providers can now empower parents to prevent their children from viewing inappropriate or dangerous material.

"The task of protecting mobile subscribers and their devices from unwanted content has become a significant concern for wireless carriers and subscribers around the globe as new voice, video and data services are increasingly accessed on the go," said Deborah Bourland, vice president, GSM/UMTS packet core product line management, Nortel.

By providing protection from malicious and unwanted content on handsets, Websense's offerings will enable Nortel's wireless carrier customers to offer improved web security and content filtering to their subscribers, added John Carrington, chairman and chief executive officer of Websense.

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