People ask us all the time, "What are some basic ways to keep my personal data safe on my smartphone or tablet?" And it's a great question, since mobile devices are exploding in popularity.
To that end, here are some basic, need-to-know tips for securing your mobile device:
Know your apps:
Download apps only from a trusted source, like the Google Market, Apple App Store or Amazon App Store. Closely scrutinize the permissions the app requests, and don't install it if it wants to access certain functions that it doesn't need, such as the ability to send SMS messages. User reviews are also helpful.
Lock your device:
Most smartphones and tablets give you a choice of locking the device with a password, numeric code or pattern. Take advantage of this – if nothing else, you'll prevent practical jokesters from emailing your boss if you leave your device unattended.
Explore mobile security services:
Mobile security apps provide lost device protection, secure web browsing, and antimalware services. Webroot offers several free and premium versions of Webroot® SecureAnywhere™ for protecting devices on the iOS and Android operating systems.
Keep track of your mobile device. Once it leaves your hands, all bets are off. From a standpoint of a person with minimal resources: Data on the SD Card can be pulled off at a whim. The device can be factory-reset and look "completely new". With more resources, there are simply more things that can be done.
Lock your device. Really.
It was already said, but it bears repeating. Practical jokesters are not the only threat to an unlocked device. With a lock, a thief's ability to acquire data is much more limited. Without a lock, I cannot currently think of many if any security apps or anything else that will solidly prevent somebody from getting full access to your device with only a tiny bit of work. Even a fancy security app with uninstall protection can have that protection bypassed in a heartbeat by a geek with some knowhow.
Mobile devices are more and more prevalent these days, so keeping them secure is a priority. Prevention is always the best medicine.