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Anti-Virus Options for your Smartphone
By Doug Smith
At this point most of us have smartphones attached to our hips or at least our hands. Theyíre our go to devices for just about everything, and have changed the way we communicate, compute, socialize, and use and share data. I always go to my smartphone instead of my desktop, laptop or tablet, as itís the fastest device in the house! But as with our computers, weíve got to protect our smartphones from viruses and other issues. Letís take a look at some of the optionsÖ
Hopefully, most of us have some sort of anti-virus protection on our desktop or laptop computers, and weíre used to planning on virus protection. Weíve had personal computers for years. Smartphones are still a relatively new phenomenon. We run multiple apps that are constantly connected, potentially putting personal information at risk. Weíre still adapting to the use and protection of these devices, and those that want our information are adapting their strategies for how to get to the information on our phones.
Are the threats to Android phones and the iPhone similar? Between the two, the biggest risk is losing your information, or getting your accounts compromised, including your bank account, app store account, or credit card information. Apple has always had stricter requirements in the app store, and isnít as open an environment as the Google/Android app market. As the Android market is getting better at tightening up app requirements, we're seeing more and more app viruses in the Apple app store.
One of the biggest threat areas has to do with fake apps. These are more prevalent in Google Play, but the Apple App store gets hit with fake apps as well. Fake apps imitate real apps, and can get into your various accounts, or send text messages with links to your contacts. Fake apps can also link to spyware that can infect your phone and compromise your accounts and information.
Most banks now have mobile apps to make our banking easier. We can log into accounts, check balances, move funds, even scan and deposit checks. If you use mobile banking apps, youíre basically carrying around access to your bank account. This is information and access vulnerable to hacking. If your phone is stolen and someone can get into it, all of this info is available as well.
A lot of us use our phones for work as well, with work information and access. If your phone is compromised or stolen, your work information is vulnerable and could cost a lot of time and hassle if lost, or could even cost you your job.
What are the basic things to do to protect yourself? Well, as with PC protection, common sense is a must. Be careful what you download. Only download and use trusted apps. Check the reviews when downloading an app. Take a look at the developers, and maybe even do a little web search for more info if itís an app youíre not familiar with. When you do download and install an app, make sure you know and understand what info the app can access and use. Be careful when clicking and visiting links. But most importantly, use a program with anti-virus protection on your phone.
To download an anti-virus app to your phone, be sure to visit the Android Market or Apple App Store on your phone.
What are some recommended Android Antivirus options?
What are some iphone antivirus options?
What else can you do to protect your phone?
First, and foremost, at least set a password for your phone. All smartphones have the ability to set a password, and screenlock timeout. Basically if your phone isnít used for a certain period of time, it locks, and has to be unlocked with a password. Sure it takes a little more time to see that Facebook update or text message, but itís worth the few seconds. Youíll also be able to make an emergency call if needed, or take a quick snapshot with your camera. But the lockscreen and password will keep your info secure if your phone is misplaced or stolen.
Second, use some security software. Take a look at any of the options in this post or other options out there, and decide what might work best for you. Try one out, and if it doesnít work, simply uninstall and try another. Remember, there are free options as well. They wonít have all the features of premium paid options, but will give you the basic protection you need.
Use a remote wipe app. Smartphones are easily lost or misplaced. Remote wipe will let you remotely erase all the data on your phone in the event itís lost. Many mobile anti-virus programs include this option.
Once again, be careful what you download, and what you click. Download trusted apps, from trusted sources. Look at the reviews, and do some research. If an app is questionable, itís probably safer to not use it, or to find another option amongst the myriad of app choices out there on the markets. Be careful what you click, using the same rules youíd use with your personal and work email. Only click links from trusted sources, and check the links before you click them.
There are obviously no guarantees out there, but with smartphones becoming more and more of an integral tool in our personal and work lives, we have to start thinking about protecting these valuable devices, the links they have to our lives, and the information and access they link to.
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