Traveling can be stressful, but even more so during the holiday season. AAA projects that the number of year-end holiday travelers in the U.S. will top 100 million for the first time on record. Nearly one in three Americans will travel this holiday season and more than 100.5 million are expected to travel than 50 miles or more from home.
The one thing you really want to make sure you protect while you travel is your smartphone. Not only may you have your boarding pass on your smartphone, but more importantly, the hardware is expensive and it most likely contains a plethora of personal data.
There are two main ways your phone could be compromised while traveling, especially during the holidays: physical device loss and network threats.
Have an anti-theft app installed
Airports and train stations will be bustling with people, you may have to dash to catch a flight or make a pit stop during a long car ride. In all of these situations, your phone is at risk –physical risk. Pickpockets prefer to work in high density areas, and it’s easy to lose things like your phone when you’re in a rush.
Twenty Android mobile phones were intentionally lost in The Lost Phones social experiment that Avast security analysts ran for 5 months.
The story is about how Avast Anti-Theft was able to track the phones and follow the journey that some of them took after being found. But four of those phones were returned to Avast because of good Samaritans who didn’t feel it was right to keep them.
We spoke to two of them; Quiana W., who found a phone on a park bench in Harlem, New York City and to Michael D. who found one in a public restroom in San Francisco. We asked what they thought when they first spotted the phones.
Quiana: I wanted to check it to see if it was on and see if I would be able to contact someone to return their phone. I know what it feels like to lose things, wallet or a phone, so I was just trying to pay it forward. It doesn’t necessarily have to happen back to me in this way, but it was just something that kind of took my heart.
Michael: My initial reaction was to leave the phone where it was. It seemed a little suspicious – how could someone not hear the phone drop onto the floor? I also thought that someone might mistake me for a thief if I walked out with the phone. But then, partially out of boredom and partially out of honesty, I decided to play detective and find the phone’s owner.
We trust our free app Avast Anti-Theft to track down lost phones, but we wanted to put it to the test in a real-world situation. So five months ago, we bought 20 Android smartphones and installed three security apps on all the phones: Our free Avast Anti-Theft app, Lookout Mobile Security, and Clean Master. Each phone was marked with contact information on where to return the device if found. After all was prepared, Avast security analysts traveled to New York City and San Francisco to randomly “lose” them in public places.
Here’s a video that shows what happened.
Over the months, the analysts used the Avast Anti-Theft app to track the lost devices and observed the following:
- 15 phones were wiped clean using the factory reset feature
- 11 phones stayed online for more than 24 hours after losing them
- 7 phones we were able to track for several months
- 4 phones were returned
- 4 phones are currently online and used
- 2 phones ended up abroad
- 1 phone was never factory data reset
The majority of lost devices were wiped clean using the factory reset feature, but only the Avast Anti-Theft app survived the factory reset.
You can track your missing mobile phones and tablets with Avast Anti-Theft. Get it for free from the Google Play Store.
Would you like a sneak-peek into avast! Mobile Security version 3, avast! Anti-Theft and the debut of a new product, avast! Backup? We are looking for advanced users to participate in the avast! Mobile Security Beta test starting today. This Beta test will run for a full week in which time you can give us valuable feedback that we can incorporate into our product before going public to millions of users.
Here’s how to join the Beta test
- Sign up on the dedicated avast! Mobile Beta Testers Google Plus community
- Click the product links on the right under ‘About this community’ and sign up as tester for our Beta program
- Within 24 hours of the beta launch, you’ll see upgrades to avast! Mobile Security and avast! Anti-Theft in the Google Play Store. Our new product, avast! Backup will also be available to install from Google Play.
!! Note that avast! Anti-Theft Advanced users (users who installed from our servers instead from Google Play) will need to send their IMEI to holzner at avast dot com to get their Anti-Theft client upgraded to the Beta version !!
- In order to get your free premium test license, open any of our apps and click on the “Go Premium” button
- Click on the “Voucher” button to the top right of the screen
- Enter AVASTBETATEST as the voucher code
- Get your free beta test license (valid until end of August)
- Deliver your feedback to the avast! Mobile Security forum
This release incorporates a premium line on top of our free offering. You can learn more about the features on the avast! Mobile Security forum.
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