Security News

Six ways to secure your smartphone

Deborah Salmi, 11 July 2014

Six ways to secure your smartphone

AR AMSpost-enI bet you would be lost without your smartphone. It’s your lifeline to contacts, emails, and personal information, not to mention all those apps that you use for fun, entertainment, and business. You probably have bought something using your phone, so your credit card information is there, as well as your account log ins. In other words, it would be disastrous to lose it to a thief or be infected with a data-stealing app.

Keep reading for some solid tips that will help you secure your Android smartphones and tablets.

1. Install security software

Protect your smartphone or tablet from malicious attacks. Malware targeted at Android devices is increasing daily, and we project that it will be at PC levels in the next 4 years. Even though malware is not likely to affect you (yet), avast! Mobile Security & Anti-theft protects your device , plus it helps you locate your device if it is lost or stolen.

TIP: When you upgrade to avast! Mobile Premium you get a feature called Password Check. This feature keeps nosy people and data thieves from snooping around your messages or emails. After 3 wrong attempts to break in, your phone is locked.

2. Use trusted stores to install apps

Malware may not be a huge threat yet, but cybercrooks are using apps in subtle ways, so you need to be aware of what you’re downloading onto your device. The major app stores like Google Play and Amazon are the safest places to go for apps. These have rigorous vetting procedures, so they are reliable sources. The ones you need to watch out for are the unregulated third party app stores predominantly from the Asia or the Middle East.

TIP: For an extra safeguard on your Android device, stop the installation of apps from unknown sources. Go to Settings>Security and uncheck the Unknown Sources option. Check the Verify Apps option to block or warn you before installing apps that may cause harm.

3. Use a PIN or password and lock your apps

Your Android phone has its own security settings, so we recommend that you set a PIN number with a strong number code to the lock screen. To set your PIN go to Settings>Lock screen to set a pattern or passcode.

TIP: Use avast! Mobile Security App Lock to set a PIN for apps you want to keep private, like online shopping and banking apps. You can lock any two apps with a PIN/gesture using our free product; get unlimited app locking with the Premium product.

4. Keep your smartphone close to you

Sticky-fingered thieves can be off with your phone before you finish picking up your coffee from the barista.

TIP: avast! Mobile Premium users can enable the anti-theft feature called Geo-Fencing. You set up a perimeter, for example, around the coffee shop, and choose some actions - like setting a loud alarm. If a thief tries to take your phone outside of the perimeter when you are distracted by your mocha latte, the alarm goes off, or the phone is locked.

5. Use remote location and wiping if your phone is stolen

When you are ready to sell or give away your phone too, make sure all your data is wiped away. We bought some used phones from eBay and found all kinds of things, including nude pictures and financial documents, from supposedly “clean” phones.

TIP: Use the remote features of avast! Mobile Security and Anti-Theft to wipe the data from your phone or track and locate your missing phone. You can use SMS commands and/or your my.avast Account. Thorough wipe allows avast! to permanently and irreversibly delete and overwrite all of your personal data.

6. Stay safe when using public WiFi

Public WiFi hotspots can help you manage your data plan, but there is a dark side that you need to be aware of. Data thieves can snoop on your email, files, account log ins, passwords, etc. and eavesdroppers can listen to your VOIP calls on Skype or Viber.

TIP: We recommend that you use an encryption service like avast! SecureLine VPN. Especially when traveling, but even at home, the additional protection to secure your data and devices is getting to be essential.

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