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Smartphone Security Tips: How to Keep your Handset Safe

[ 0 ] Posted by on January 2, 2013

Smartphone Security Tips

A mobile generation needs mobile technology. Taking advantage of the requirement, smartphones have been able to penetrate the personal and corporate fields through email and social networking integration.  However, it seems that the line between consumer and business use for gadgets today has become blurred, now that the Bring Your Own Device policy has become part of many companies. Many sites have warned that the BYOD policy might violate personal security. If random strangers hack into your smartphone, there is also an information security risk. So what can you do to keep your handset safe?

Screen Lock

Screen-locking your smartphone is your first line of defense. This will secure your phone whenever you leave it unattended and it will not be easy for thieves to access it.

If you have an Android smartphone, just navigate to Settings, and tap Location & Security. Tap Set Up Screen Lock. You can either choose the Password option or the Connect-the-Dots swipe pattern.

If you are using a BlackBerry phone, just go to Options, then Security Options. Go to General Settings and then Enter Password. For iPhones, navigate to Settings, then General, and then tap Passcode Lock. If it’s a Windows Phone, navigate to Settings and then Lock & Wallpaper.

Remote Locate, Lock and Wipe

Did you lose your phone? Can’t remember where you last used it? Or maybe, you’re suspecting it’s been stolen already? For these kinds of situations, it is better to be able to locate, lock and remotely wipe your phone. This can ease your worry that your personal data is in danger.

Remote location is very limited since it works through GPS. You won’t know EXACTLY where your smartphone is, but it can give you an approximation. At least, you’ll know whether or not it is still in the building. If it’s not, then most likely, it was stolen.

If you did not enable the screen lock feature of your phone, don’t worry! You can still lock it with a password remotely. You can also display an on-screen message on the phone. If you are pretty sure that it’s lost forever, you can also wipe its memory clean.

For Android phones, you have to download the apps that give you these features, like Where’s My Droid. For BlackBerry phones, download BlackBerry Protect, which is free. For iPhones, there is a Find My iPhone feature. It’s from Apple’s MobileMe service. This is free for those with iOS 4.2 or later. For iPhone 3, you have to pay a $99 annual subscription. For Windows Phone, just navigate to Settings then Find My Phone then Turn on the Remote Locate/Lock/Wipe feature. You can remotely locate, lock or wipe your phone by going to windowsphone.live.com.

Backup or Sync

If you tend to lose things, then you’d better make a backup of your data. Backup and sync differ on every smartphone. Some have an option that creates a comprehensive backup by syncing to a computer. Some just create a copy through online storage “clouds.”

If you own an Android phone, its backup feature is on by default. But if you are not sure, you can navigate to Settings, then Privacy and click Back Up My Data. Most of the services from Google automatically sync, such as Gmail, Contacts, Calendar and many more, so it’s not too much trouble. BlackBerry users can create a backup using the BlackBerry Desktop software. Also, RIM has a BlackBerry Protect app that creates an online backup for your bookmarks, calendar, contacts and text messages.

If you are using an iPhone, you automatically create a backup by plugging your device into your computer. For now, Windows Phone has no way to create a backup, but you can sync some data and files using your Windows Live account.

Anti-Virus Software

Now that smartphones and other mobile gadgets are multiplying, malware developers and hackers are targeting them. Your smartphone is now prone to malicious objects on the Web. Make sure you have an anti-virus app on your smartphone.

Anti-virus software is not available on all types of smartphones. iPhones and Windows Phones do not have anti-virus apps. Although Apple and Microsoft assure you that their strong control over their operating systems and app stores gives them no need for further protection, it still does not eliminate risks altogether. If you have an iPhone, you can get the Smart Surfing from Trend Micro. This app checks all websites you visit before anything bad happens.

It’s a different story for Android phones. Because it is an open platform, Android is susceptible to malware. Good thing there are a lot of anti-virus apps out there like the AVG Mobilation Anti-Virus. Another option is the Lookout Mobile Security, which is also available for BlackBerry.

Conclusion

 Remember the worn-out cliché, “better safe than sorry”? Well, let’s put it to good use. Follow these tips to keep your smartphone secure from any “evildoers” out there. Remember, your smartphone is expensive, so why treat it like an everyday object? Besides, it’s the most personal gadget that you have because you do everything with it. So why not protect it?

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About Misha Williams: Misha Williams is a 23-year old writer/blogger from Las Vegas, Nevada who loves to write articles about technology and the Internet. She writes for CashSmartphones.com, a site where you can sell used cell phones for great cash. Find her on . View author profile.

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