Locking Down Your Smartphone PDF Print E-mail

Most smartphone users have quite an amount of personal information in their handsets. Most Android phones have photos, phone contacts, messages, Facebook accounts, Twitter and the like. All this is valuable to the users and criminals target them in an attempt to compromise their security and obtain personal information for malicious use. As a result of all this, android phones are hit with Trojan horses and other types of malware.

The security of phones is not considered as important as that of a computer and to make matters worse the mobile malware is still in its early stages so one may be unaware when it strikes. Users of smartphones are highly recommended to download a security app which can protect them from cyber criminals and other malicious attacks and while most of these security apps are usually accessible free of charge.

Installing an antivirus program is the first step you need to take. It comes with features like remote wipe which helps you securely remove all data stored on your phone in case of loss. It also supports the GPS tracking for finding it if stolen or misplaced and SMS spam blocking to filter the incoming emails. Scanning for malware is of course the primary responsibility of the antivirus.

One of the popular and free applications is called "Lookout Mobile Security". It scans automatically the new applications you install on your phone and any existing malware threats. The ones that are not for free and need subscription to access include Symantec Norton Mobile Security (beta version), AVG Antivirus and McAfee wave secure.

iPhone owners need not to worry about malware since Apple is strict on what is on sale at their app stores. However, you never know what might come up along the way so security for your phone is mandatory.

One of the mobile security apps from Apple is called Find my iPhone as part of iCloud services. It offers tracking and remote- wipe service. This is offered to any iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch owner free of charge. This app can lock and remotely delete information saved in your smartphone. The GPS can track it, set a pass code remotely and locate it anywhere around or inside the house by displaying an on screen message with an alarm sound.

Android at all times remains in headlines. This time, it is for FBI's checklist to avoid malwares that can compromise users' devices running on this OS. The Federal agency has prepared a list to protect the device at user-end. Here is that list:

• When a new device is purchased, most of its features come enabled by default. You need to know which features you really use, and which you can turn off to avoid/reduce attacks.

• Try to have a device which has the operating system with encryption. Encryption is the translation of data into secret code. It provides a high-level of security to user's data.

• Before users download an application from the app store, they should also look at the reviews made for the developer or company who built the app.

• Enable passcode/screen lock security to access the phone. It is one of the easy ways to protect valuable data in case the device is lost. The security should automatically get activated after a few minutes.

• Install a malware protection app in the device. Users can install an antivirus program that secures the device from malicious apps and malwares.

• A geo-location enabled app can let its developer know user's location. It allows tracking users wherever they go. It is quite useful from the marketing point of view, but it can also raise concerns of assisting a possible stalker and/or burglaries.

• Before users allow an app to get their devices, they should review and understand all the permissions that app wants.

• Rooting allows users to have extra features in their devices, but a rooted device is more vulnerable to be attacked.

• Users should avoid connecting their devices to unknown wireless networks. These networks can capture the information passed by users to a legitimate server.

• Before you sell your old device to someone, all the data on it should be wiped. Resetting to factory default is also recommended.

• Do not avoid updating smartphone' core software. The update comes with fixed bugs and errors. It also enhances the security of devices. Users should routinely download updates for apps.

• Do not download Android application from third party app stores. Third party stores may have apps with malicious code or malware that can compromise the device.

• While using internet on the mobile, do not click on a suspicious link. Users can follow the precautions as same as followed on the desktop computer.

If users follow above mentioned tips, they too can secure their Android devices from most of the malware and virus attacks.


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