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The Best Mobile Security Tricks for 2014

By Mason White 4:22 AM January 29, 2014
Mobile phone illustration 

By: John Roberts
You are 15 times more likely to lose your mobile phone than your laptop, according to Intel.

While most people know they should regularly backup their phones to avoid losing the data stored in them, they tend to be less concerned with what might happen if their phones fall into the hands of someone with nefarious intentions.

Keeping your phone secure means keeping potential criminals out, and the best means of doing that come built-in, though a few outside applications can prove beneficial.

Password Protect Your Phone

If your phone isn’t password protected, it should be. Locking your phone with a password is the simplest way to keep prying eyes off your data if your phone falls into the wrong hands.

Most phones provide password protection directly in the settings, no downloads or additional software required. On the Samsung Galaxy S4, for instance, you set a numeric passcode by going to “My Device,” “Lock Screen,” “Screen Lock,” and tapping “Pin.” Enter up to a 16-digit code twice, and that code will then be required to unlock the phone from that point on. The Galaxy offers several additional unlock methods as well, including facial recognition or the entering of a pattern.

Pair Password Protection with Mobile Device Management

As more and more businesses have added mobile devices to their company technology, mobile security has become more advanced. Individuals should be just as diligent about data stored on devices as many businesses now are. Someone getting their hands on your personal information can be as detrimental to your financial and personal security as someone getting their hands on trade secrets can be to a company’s success.

So, do as proactive businesses do. Set your phone up with device management. Device management allows you to control your phone remotely to track its location, call it if you need to find it in your house, lock it or even wipe the data from it. Often times you have to register the phone and pay for this service. Samsung’s program is called “Find My Mobile,” for example.

Download Official Apps

With the popularity of mobile apps, thousands of developers have thrown their hats into the ring, hoping to hit gold with the next “Angry Birds.” While this rush of app-development gives mobile users a ton of choices, it also poses a threat, because apps are like any downloadable program—an easy method for hackers to inject viruses and steal data from your device.

While it limits your variety, sticking to apps offered directly through your phone’s manufacturer, which have been somewhat vetted, will offer better protection than downloading from Joe Schmoe’s App Wonderland.

Remember Phones Get Sick Too

Few of us neglect to put anti-virus software on our desktops or laptops. Most of us know it only takes one click on the wrong website to infect a computer to the point that it barely functions. Yet, many of us neglect to realize we do many of the same things on our smartphones we do on our computers, mainly surfing the Web, and ending up on a dangerous website in a phone browser is just as easy as on a computer.

Security apps with good reputations do exist for mobile devices. Bitdefender’s free Mobile Security and Antivirus for Droid phones, for instance, gets top ratings for keeping malware at bay and data secure.

Unless you pick up your desktop computer and carry it with you every time you leave the house, you’re far less likely to lose it or have it stolen than you are to have your cell phone meet with one of those two fates. So, why would you provide more security for your computer than your phone? This year, make it your mission to trespass-proof your mobile devices. That way, if someone swipes it, they will have only your property, not your security.