A new app, which its developers describe as an “anti-virus app for airtime”, promises to help users stop their airtime from disappearing for no apparent reason.

Dubbed Guardian, the app, which was developed by the Johannesburg-based mobile tech and software-as-a-service company RND Labs, aims to address what developers believe to be the main cause of disappearing airtime: apps that, by means of bots, cause an unsuspecting user’s device to subscribe to a wireless application service provider (WASP), which then periodically deducts airtime.

The Guardian app scours Android devices for malicious apps that subscribe to WASP services, and notifies users about malicious apps after detection. The app can also remove malicious apps from a vulnerable user’s device swiftly and easily.

It monitors devices in real time, also keeping an eye out for other types of mobile malware that may have been inadvertently downloaded from the internet.

Speaking to IT Web, the director of RND Labs, Laurence Seberini said that disappearing airtime has real financial consequences for users who fall victim.

“We hope Guardian will emerge as the leading locally-developed Android app aimed at protecting mobile users from inadvertently downloaded malware. Airtime is a de facto currency today and its theft has a real adverse financial impact on millions of people,” said Seberini.

The Guardian app can be downloaded from the Google Play Store for free, although a subscription fee of R9.99 per month is applicable after 30 days. The app can be used on Android devices on any of the local mobile networks, except for Telkom.

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