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Smartphone Security


Considering that the Smartphone industry is on the rise on a daily basis, people are largely worried about the security of data that is present on their phones. There is simply no doubt that the potential of these devices continues to increase along with the number of software that can be installed onto them. With the increasing number of new apps these days, the need to maintain your Smartphone’s security just cannot be stressed enough. Even though a majority of these devices come with some sort of built-in security system, it may not be enough to protect your Smartphone from malware attack.

A good number of people these days consider their Smartphone’s their life. These include a multitude of personal data and information, which is inclusive of: 

  • Work or personal documents, pictures, notes, emails that have sensitive information

  • Contacts as well a calendar appointments

  • Complete access to Wi-Fi networks that you connect to at home or at work

  • Full access to several bits of information and websites through various applications such as bill paying apps, social networking apps, shopping apps etc

These pieces of information are the goldmines that potential thieves are always on the lookout for. Additionally, sniffing your internet traffic while being connected to an open Wi-Fi network can grant full access to your passwords to unencrypted services and websites such as web-based email sites, Facebook, Twitter, POP3 email services etc. And obviously, one can never ignore the issue of malware, viruses, Bluetooth / SMS / MMS exploits etc that can easily manipulate your phone’s settings and even destroy or steal personal information on your phone.

A study of more than 6,000 Smartphone users in nearly 16 countries regarding Smartphone security threats was conducted by Juniper Networks sometime ago. The following results were revealed by the study:

  • It was discovered by a Fortune 15 company that nearly 1,250 of its 25,000 devices were infected with malware

  • The amount of mobile malware in the past year has increased by a whole 250%

  • 80% of the respondents admitted that they use their devices to gain access to their work network without having permission from their employer

  • Out of every twenty applications in the Android marketplace request for permission that make it possible for the application to make calls without the user even knowing about it

  • Out of ten mobile devices, nine have little or no security protection at all

  • Nearly 60% of Smartphone infection are spyware, whereas 17% of them are text message trojans

These stats clearly emphasize the need for one to pay close attention to Smartphone security. The good news is that there are several alternatives that can be used in order to secure your phone. These are third party programs, whereas some can also be built-in to the operating system of your phone. Some of the simplest defense mechanism against Smartphone threats are:


Never Lose Your Phone
This perhaps is the most straightforward and obvious method to protect your Smartphone. In case you are in a public place, make sure that you never sit it down or place it in an open bag where it remains vulnerable. Believe it or not, this is the commonest way for phones to get stolen or lost.


Automatic Lock or Timeout
It is best for you to set your Smartphone to lock or timeout after a certain amount of time, let’s say, thirty seconds or less, particularly if you are used to leaving your phone out on your desk in public areas such as work. This functionality is built-in in a majority of Smartphones these days.

Follow these guidelines to be able to set timeout settings and passwords over your Smartphone:

Android 2.2 (Froyo) users can easily setup a pattern lock, password or even a PIN code on their mobile devices. What you need to do is press the ‘Menu’ button from the home screen and then go on to ‘Settings, Location and Security’ and then access ‘Set up screen lock’. This basically allows you to set up different types of screen locks over your phone. However, it is best to have your Gmail account linked to your phone to access it just in case you forget your password.

All you need to do with your BlackBerry is to press its button and access ‘Options’ and then ‘Password’. After that, just choose ‘Enable Password’ and set the number of password attempts to what you believe is a feasible amount. Your phone will automatically be locked out once as soon as the specified number of attempts has been exceeded.

Simply access ‘Settings’, ‘General’ and then ‘Passcode Lock’ to set the password or pin code of your choice. You can also select the Erase Data option for your phone to delete every bit of data on your phone after 10 failed password attempts have been made.


Security Applications / Software

There are a number of other software and third party applications that can also be used to secure your Smartphone. Some of these are:

Sadly, not many security options are available over the iPhone. However, an application by the name of “MobileMe” can be used to track your phone. It can be downloaded straight from the App Store. You can also make use of Trend Smart Surfing in order to block access to web pages that have malicious content placed over them and to circumvent phishing attacks.

Android / BlackBerry
The most famous security application for Android / Blackberry users to wipe their device is known as the Lookout Mobile Security suite. It allows you to remotely wipe your device, track it through GPS, back up contacts and carry out virus scans. Webroot Mobile Security and Kaspersky Mobile Security are two other recommended mobile security software.


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Lookout Mobile Security Kaspersky Mobile Security Webroot Mobile Security

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