Consumer Reports estimates that 4 million smartphones were lost or stolen last year and never recovered. Recently a co-worker had her smartphone stolen at work. Hopefully you will never have your phone stolen or lose it. Here are a few tips to help you protect your smartphone from prying eyes, viruses, theft, and bad apps.
PRYING EYES PROTECTION
Uses a screen lock – According to Consumer Reports 34 percent of Americans do not use a PIN to lock their phones. A 4-digit PIN is the first basic step in protecting the personal information on your phone. However, why not go a step further and use a longer pin (8-digit) or even use a password?
The world has gone mobile and so have the criminals. Digital\tech crooks area really no different than any other type of crook, they go after the low hanging fruit, the easy target. Don’t be an easy target.
Use antivirus software. You have antivirus software on your laptop or desktop computer right? Why not on your phone? Today’s smartphone is basically a handheld computer. The fact that they contain increasingly important information, bad guys are starting to create viruses to attack smartphones and apps. Avast is what I use on my phone. It has done the job so far.
(NOTE: BEFORE USING ANY TRACKING APP, MAKE SURE IT WORKS WITH YOUR PHONE AND THE VERSION OF THE OPERATING SYSTEM RUNNING ON YOUR PHONE. EVERY TRACKING APP DOES NOT HAVE ALL OF THE FEATURES LISTED BELOW.)
Use a ‘find my phone’ app. You’ve heard of LoJack for cars right? If your car is stolen, LoJack can be activated and pinpoint where your vehicle is so it can be recovered. You can do the same thing with your phone. There are apps on the market that will enable you to do the following:
Track your phone and pinpoint it on a map.
Remotely lock your phone.
Remotely delete all data off of your phone.
Remotely make your phone sound an alarm.
Take a picture of the person trying to unlock your phone
Apps that may be worth checking out:
(Before using a third-party app, look into an app\service that your cell phone service provider may offer.)
GIGO – Garbage In Garbage Out. Only download apps from trusted app stores. Even then, be very careful about what apps you download. Read the fine print and know the level of access the app requires before you download it. The other day I was about to download a calculator app. I read what permissions it ‘needed’ before downloading. The app wanted access to the camera on my phone. That did not make sense to me. I did not download the app.
Clueful and SnoopWall Privacy are apps you can use that will analyze the apps on your phone and alert you to any possible problems.
John L. Jones