Smartphone Security Threats and How to Deal with Them

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Remember the days when a phone was simply a tool for making and receiving calls? Back then, the only security concern was whether someone might be listening in to a private conversation. Flash forward to the 21st century, and once-simple devices have been transformed to hand-held computers that are capable of making phone calls. We love our feature-rich phones and tablets more than anything, and so do criminals and others who want to gain access to your private information.

Threats to Smartphone Security

The amount of personal and financial information stored inside the average mobile device is mindboggling, and it makes every phone and tablet a target for bad guys who make a living by infiltrating devices and taking advantage of the information stored inside.

Threats to mobile web security are almost never easy to see! They range from simple issues like leaving your phone unlocked and putting your personal emails at risk of being read by others to highly complex ones like viruses, Trojan horses, corrupted apps, malware, and third-party apps that look like tools or games, but that really exist for the purpose of sharing your information.

How to Defend Your Device

Your first line of defense is probably built into your device, and it’s designed to provide protection from prying eyes in case your phone or tablet is ever lost or stolen. As inconvenient as it may seem to enter a passcode every time you go for your phone, it’s important to set your phone to lock or time out after a period of inactivity that you decide. Choose a password that’s easy for you to remember and type, but difficult for others to guess. Poor choices include any information from an ID or drivers’ license such as your name or birthday, your children’s names, or overly simple number combinations like 1234. If you’re using a pattern to unlock your phone, choose one that crosses over itself. Thieves and others can easily guess swipe patterns by looking at smudge marks left on your screen.

Next, it’s a good idea to choose a web security app that you can use to scan your phone, clean it, and even wipe it clear of all data remotely if it ends up being lost or stolen. The good news is that this is something you won’t have to pay much for, if at all, and mobile web security apps are getting better and better all the time. A few examples are PSafe DFNDR, Bitdefender Mobile Security, Norton Mobile Security (more expensive than most of its competitors), Kaspersky Internet Security for Android and ESET Mobile Security and Antivirus.

Last, but not least, be careful about what you choose to view and download. Be sure that content comes from trusted sources, and never open suspicious links. Be sure to keep your device updated, too; without updates, you’re left even more vulnerable to the latest digital thievery.

Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, always revealing interesting things we didn’t know before. She is a freelance producer for USA Today, and a contributor at Technorati. She lives in Utah with her 2 kids and husband. Melissa Thompson can be reached via LinkedIn or Twitter @melthompson88. Please follow and friend her on either site.