Home 8 Common Sense Tips to Keeping Your Smartphone Safe

8 Common Sense Tips to Keeping Your Smartphone Safe

Should you be concerned about mobile malware? There are reports of new bugs and exploitations every month and there is a general rising wariness among mobile consumers that their phones could be the target of spammers and malicious hackers. Make no mistake, the bad guys want access to your phone. It it really a problem if you exercise common sense?

Security in almost all of its forms comes down to common sense. If you practice common sense, you can thwart almost all of the would-be attempts to gain access to your personal life, be it your home, apartment, PC or smartphone. Security company McAfee came out with five common sense precautions for mobile users to keep their users safe. We have a few of our own. Check them out below.

Here are McAfee’s five security tips:

  • Be aware: It may not be out there to get you right now, but know that it exists and that a lapse of judgment could come back to haunt you.
  • Research apps and publishers: McAfee says to download broadly used apps that have good user ratings and a lot of reviews. It is akin to making sure you walk home through well-lit areas.
  • Use reputable app stores: You never really know what is going to sneak into a third-party app store. The Apple App Store and Android Market are sort of the app repositories of record. The App Store can be trusted to be almost 100% free of malware while the Android Market has done a better job of cleaning itself up after the DroidDream debacle earlier this year.
  • Check permissions: When you download an app, it tells you exactly what it is going to do. See an app for Mark Twain quotes that requests access to your calendar, SMS messaging and contacts? Given the nature of the app, it probably shouldn’t be doing those things. If an app’s permissions seem suspicious, do not download the app until you have gone back and done your research.
  • Install antivirus: This one is probably a little self-serving coming from a security company (that is owned by Intel), but it also fits in with the above tip. Mobile security apps will look at an app’s permissions and check the app to see if it is actually doing what it says it is going to do. If it is not, a warning will pop up saying that the app is suspicious. Norton from Symantec and Lookout are both good options for Android.

In addition to McAfee’s tips, here are a few of our own:

  • Pay attention: Do not go downloading apps in third-party markets willy-nilly. Check the URL of the page you are downloading from and make sure that it makes a semblance of sense. Sometimes it is the little things that you would have seen if you paid attention that end up hurting the most when you do not follow up.
  • Trust no one: That includes the security companies. Every half year and or so the security companies come out with new data about the big, bad world of scary malware. Why do they do this? So you will download their offerings to get rid of that malware. Take a step back and ask yourself what the problem really is and find a way to solve it using your own recognizance.
  • Common Sense: What do you do when you leave the house? You lock the door. When on a bike, you make sure to have a good lock for when you need to park it. You do not run down railroad tracks that have a high frequency of trains. You do not purposefully endanger yourself in the real world, take that approach to digital.

How do you protect your smartphone or tablet? Let us know in the comments.

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