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May 5th, 2014

The 10 Commandments of Mobile Privacy

From governments to thieves to your wife – it seems that everyone has access to your private data.

avast! Mobile Security anti-theft helps track your lost phone

If you have a smartphone or tablet, people around you can discover your most deeply held secrets. You put all your private data and personal information there and… it’s at risk. The possibility of losing your phone or getting robbed is a major concern.

Is there anything that we can do to protect our private data? Some skeptics say no. I’m an optimist; I think there is always a way. Working for a security company makes us think that there is always a way to protect ourselves, to avoid danger, and to care about other users.

Lock your apps for privacy with avast! Mobile SecurityI’ve being collecting info for what I call the 10 Commandments for mobile privacy. Here are simple steps to help protect your privacy:

    1. 1. Use a PIN, password or pattern in your device. I’m lucky to have a phone where the numbers change their position on the screen and make the lockscreen even more secure. There are some apps that make your password “random” (obeying rules you’ve previously set).
    2. 2. Lock your most private apps. Lock your log in data but also your own messages, emails, personal notes, contacts, everything is in your pocket. offers the feature to secure even more sensitive parts of your device with the avast! Mobile Security App Locker that automatically asks for a PIN when you start the app.
    3. 3. Do not save banking or credit card credentials in your phone or, at least, not in the mobile browsers. Some banks, at least here in Brazil, have their own mobile app that never saves the passwords or PINs. Now, for Android, there are free password managers that adds a new security layer while browsing.
    4. 4. Do not be a happy clicker. People who expose themselves to scams or spam links, who download each single app they see from any kind of source put themselves at risk. OK, you’ll say this is not you. But, do you think twice on clicking in social media links or shares?
    5. 5. Do not take, send, save or share nude photos. No, this is not a moral commandment. It’s a privacy one. Everything stored and, worse, shared with others, could violate your privacy or that of a third party, or even break the law! You can share or send to others by accident. Or you can regret in the future, for instance, while trying to get a new job. In this same category, add any racist or sexist joke.
    6. 6. Take care on posting and sharing photos with your location. Phones can be set to add your location to photos you take. Thieves and cybercriminals could take advantage of this information to scare you with fraud or, at least, to spam you. Also, if you post very frequently you can give others the exact path you’re in your journey or trip. Wait until you get back to share trip photos is wise advice.
    7. 7. Take extra precautions on answering unknown phone calls. In this case, take care of not sharing any personal information or anything related to your own computer and browsing habits with someone who calls “out of the blue.” For sure, never accept proposals or give away your bank/credit card credentials. Legitimate banks, for example, will never call you to ask for personal details.
    8. 8. Do not browse in open/public WiFi networks in the nude. That’s a turn of phrase, but free WiFi certainly exposes you in ways you don’t want. You need to use a secure VPN in these situations. avast! SecureLine is one of the options: Easy-to-set and use, and very efficient against eavesdropping.
    9. 9. Do not open unknown files that come attached in an email. This is one of the most common ways of getting malware or losing personal information. Special care needs to be taken if an email claims to need your bank account info. Only log in to sites you trust and are well-known as clean.
    10. 10. Keep your phone secured against malware and thefts. Once in the criminals’ hands, the data in your phone could be misused against you. To avoid such situations, you should give avast! Mobile Security and avast! Anti-Theft a try.  (They are free!) There is also a geoprotection feature: When your phone “walks away” from a secured area, you can automatically lock it and you can trace it by SMS or via your avast! account portal.

Key take-away
Make sure you continually ask yourself while using your smartphone or tablet: Do I care if anyone knows where I am, or what I’m searching on Google, or which photo I’m sharing or liking on social network sites, or the jokes I tell to my friends after some bottles of beer? Stop-Think-Click

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