Make your personal information secure.
Let’s look at some important smart device data:
- 62% of consumers use online banking
- 27% of millennials use them to create new bank accounts
- 33% of consumers pay bills through these devices
- 60% of Americans purchase smart home products they monitor on their smartphones
In other words, a good amount of Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is passed through wireless networks. In turn, the risk of online identity theft increases.
A lack of updates
The results of a 2017 Pew Research Survey revealed over a quarter of smartphone owners don’t use a passcode to lock their phones. Also, 40% of those surveyed said they update their phone’s OS and apps only when convenient.
Not being diligent causes issues with your personal data and the information of other individuals. For example, someone can take your email, attach malware, and send it out your email list. And, if they open these emails …
Batten down the apps
Passcodes and updated apps still don’t provide 100% protection to a smart device. However, adding an extra layer of protection via a security app severely reduces attempts to steal PII or cause infections.
While some apps require a subscription, the return of investment to reduce data loss is worth it. Also, some apps offer free versions that provide more options than you think. Here are some of the best security apps to shield everyone’s information.
You’ve probably seen Lookout but never knew its purpose. Behind the scenes, it prevents data on your Android or Apple device from being corrupted or stolen. And it does so for free.
No matter if you’re on your device or not, Lookup shields it from suspicious items like fraudulent URLs, malicious backlinks, and vindictive apps. In addition to this, the free version can precious backup contacts. Should they get corrupted or lost, they can be retrieved online or through the device. For iPhone and iPads, this can be used as a secondary retrieval method should your forget your iCloud credentials.
Another free feature Lookout offers a phone location. Even if the device’s built-in GPS is deactivated, the security app locates it on Google Maps. It emits a loud alarm once found, even if the device is in silent mode.
There are other features to Lookout. For example, remote locking or safe browsing. However, those are part of the company’s subscription service.
Regardless of the free or pay model, BullGuard does a lot to protect your smart device. The highlight is remote security. If the phone or tablet is lost, access the device via an online account to lock it and wipe the data. Not only does it do this on the device’s iOS but also its SIM card.
Buying a BullGuardd subscription adds Parental Controls. Once enabled, parents can track the location of their child on their Apple or Android device and see what apps they download. It seems Orwellian; however, its goal is to minimize interactions between children and those who wish to do them harm.
Though many people know McAfee for its suite of computer-based antivirus protection, it also offers an equally powerful shield for mobile devices.
Available on Android and Apple devices, McAfee WaveSecure is a paid service that features remote locking and data wipe as well as data backup and restoration. Also, it checks URLs in emails, texts, and QR Codes for suspicious activity.
If a user loses their phone, McAfee WaveSecure pinpoints its location even with GPS deactivated. Furthermore, it calculates several locations in the vicinity as plot points. This helps narrow down the device’s location.
McAfee also got another product called Mobile Security to protect personal identity and the following features.
- Anti-theft protection
- Manage centrally – take control from anywhere
- Protect photos and videos with a private PIN
- Works with Apple watch
- and a lot more…
Currently, for Android devices, F-Secure promotes the protection of data from online identity theft. It also takes a step further by blocking unwanted phone calls and text messages. A definite bonus since malicious URLs is found in seemingly innocent texts.
The company currently offers a 30-day trial to try all their offerings. If you decide not to subscribe, F-Secure provides its anti-theft app for free. This allows you to find your phone and wipe the data if necessary.
Avast Mobile Security
There’s a lot to like in the Avast Mobile Security app. For example, the amount of options you get for free that other companies charge for. Some of these include spam blockers, detection of malicious apps before installation, and WiFi security verification. It also helps users track the amount of time they spend on certain apps, boosts the device’s RAM, and checks app permissions.
Pro and Ultimate pay options are available. However, with the number of free tools available, the extras may not be necessary.
In the end, testing all of these security apps is a must before subscribing to any payment plans. Though companies may say their free versions are robust, there could be options that can’t be used without a plan.
Speak to other smart device owners — pretty much anyone in your circle — to see what they use and how works for them. By gathering all their options, you should have a good idea of where to start. Then, sigh in relief when your data is protected.