How to secure your smartphone against
long ago it was absurd to think of your phone needing security software. Times
Now that your smartphone is more palm-sized
computer than simple portable telephone, you need to secure it. This article
will point out some of the ways your smartphone is at risk and recommend how
you can best mitigate that risk.
Trojans, worms, viruses, and spyware exist
on your smartphone platform of choice just as they do on desktop platforms,
which means you should be passing everything you download through a security
filter. Just like on your desktop, an antivirus app periodically checks the
software on your system against a list of known malware and flags any matches.
These virus scanners also scan apps before installing them to give you a
heads-up if something about the app looks suspicious. The Android platform
offers numerous genuine virus scanners; iOS users will find fewer of these, due
to the strict nature of the App Store’s approval process. Nonetheless, iOS
users can and should download apps that check URLs and QR codes for links to
malicious Web sites. Many of these apps also include information about the
latest threats detected on the Web, so you can be more aware when using your
Practice safe downloading
iOS-based iPhones, iPads, and iPod touch
devices rely on a strict application vetting process to weed out software
threats before they appear on the App Store, and the apps that are available are
isolated from critical aspects of your phone, including contacts and messaging
apps. Android-based smartphones, on the other hand, have a lower barrier to
entry; because of that, some malicious apps have made it onto Google Play.
Every Android app you download, however, is required to display the functions
of the phone it taps into. Android users can avoid being scammed by paying
attention to the permissions for each app prior to download. For instance, a
live wallpaper app doesn’t need access to your contacts list, so don’t download
one that requests that permission. (In contrast, a navigation app does need
that access, so that it can display directions to a friend’s home without
forcing you to manually enter the friend’s address).
attention to the permissions for the apps you download
Android users can download applications
from unknown sources by adjusting a setting in the Security menu, but iOS users
must jailbreak their devices to access them. Avoid installing apps from unknown
or third-party application stores whenever possible. These locations will
typically have less stringent standards and some may even knowingly host
There’s no reason for the loss or theft of
a smartphone to automatically equate to identity theft. All smartphone
platforms offer apps that are capable of helping you recover your property
before your data falls into the wrong hands. On iOS, the Find My iPhone app
lets you use another iOS-based device or the Web to locate your device on a map
and remotely play an alert tone, notify whoever has the phone that it is lost,
or erase the phone’s data. Similar apps exist on the Android platform.
apps can help you recover a lost or stolen smartphone
Passwords & patterns
One of the first steps you should take with
your phone is to enable a lock screen with a security code or lock pattern.
Smartphones have this function built in, and it can keep thieves from accessing
your data without your authorization.
Increase your Wi-Fi awareness
Finally, like laptops users, smartphone
users need to be wary of using open Wi-Fi networks. When your cellular network
speeds are lagging, the temptation to sign onto the nearest open Wi-Fi network
can be great, but cyber thieves can target these cellular dead zones and snoop
as you browse.