Smartphones continue to gain popularity world-wide, and no operating system has seen more explosive growth than Android’s OS. It’s based on the same Linux kernel that’s used in desktop PCs, and in itself is just as secure. However, the more data that is transmitted through the Internet through these devices, the greater the privacy and security concerns become. Fortunately, some Android application, or “app” developers, have already spotted some of the vulnerabilities for the average user, and here are five great privacy apps to help anyone secure their device.
This may be the top security app in Android Market. The basic app and its services are provided as a free service, and there are premium services available for a small fee. Lookout protects your data in several ways. It scans the phone regularly for malware as well as screening all apps downloaded from Market or transferred from the PC. If the phone is ever lost or stolen, Lookout provides remote enabling of GPS through the user account on myLookout.com so it can be located via geolocational tracking, alternately sounding a loud alarm if the phone happens to be hidden nearby. Premium users can remotely lock or wipe the device in case of theft.
This app scans other applications for scripts that hijack or steal your personal information, or otherwise may compromise your privacy. What’s more, it can attempt to fix the problems so the app can be used securely.
It’s a common mantra among data security experts: Use hard to crack passwords, and never use the same password more than once. mSecure makes it easy to store and secure sensitive information like passwords, login credentials, credit card information, social security number, frequent flyer miles and more, safeguarding the information in case the phone is ever lost or stolen. One cautionary note: After a certain number of failed attempts to access protected information, it’ll be automatically wiped from the phone. Make sure to have current backups!
This product bears McAfee’s brand lives up to it. Like Lookout Mobile, it too will backup and restore data and allow a user to locate, lock, or wipe a phone remotely. One feature McAfee offers that others don’t is the ability to track any new SIM cards inserted into a lost or stolen phone and locate it by the phone calls made. There is a limited 7 day trial version available. Afterwards, the user must get a paid subscription from www.wavesecure.com.
There are several good SMS/call blocking apps available, and Call & SMS Filter is a good example of the kind of call security Android offers. The user chooses what numbers to block, when to block them, what’s to be done with the blocked calls or text messages, and is password protected for security. It’s worth mentioning that all these apps are updated regularly by their developers in order to counter the latest hacking, hijacking, and malware exploits. Every person’s security needs are different, but it’s good to know that Android developers are tackling the concerns over personal privacy seriously.
JJ Walker is so obsessed with phones that he has an iPhone 4 and a Droid 2. When he’s not downloading apps, he’s helping people figured out who called them by running Reverse Phone Lookup.org.