Since so many of us have a smartphone in our pockets, there is an ongoing debate on how to protect the information these devices contain. When most people think of keeping their phones safe, they think of making sure it doesn’t get lost or stolen. They don’t typically think of how their phones could lead them to identity theft.
Even if you never physically lose your phone, there are still countless opportunities for thieves to access your information, especially through downloadable apps. In one recent example, a Trojan virus posing as a media player infected Android phones in Russia. Not only does your phone does store a lot of sensitive data, but concerns for malware have risen in recent years.
Luckily, there are plenty of security applications available that have, for the most part, kept up with these kinds of threats. Here is part one of the top 10 (in no particular order):
- Lookout Mobile Security
This app, recommended by PC World, is free to download, but has a premium version available. Free accounts are able to scan phones for malware, backup and restore data, and use GPS to locate a lost or stolen phone. Premium accounts, which cost $3 per month or $30 a year, get remote locking and wiping, enhanced backup and a privacy advisor. That feature tells you what kind of information your apps have access to.
- 360 Security
This application, which is completely free, is meant to focus solely on detecting threats and neutralizing them. In addition to scanning your device in real-time to protect you from malware, spyware and other such viruses, it can also fix vulnerabilities and help your phone run more efficiently. There are other features to the app, as well. Digital Trends listed it among its favorite security apps for its smooth, user-friendly interface.
- Norton Mobile Security
Norton Antivirus has long been used to detect suspicious activity on computers, but Symantec has also rolled out Norton Mobile Security, which allows users to remotely lock or wipe their phones via text message. In the event your phone is lost or stolen, this is a handy way to make sure whoever gets their hands on it can’t access your data. You’re also able to lock the SIM card so it can’t be swapped out, block calls and texts, and scan your device for malware.
- AVG Antivirus
Like Norton, AVG is another name known for computer security. With this free mobile app, you’re able to scan apps, settings, media and phone contents for threats. If you spy something that seems potentially threatening, AVG allows you to run it through the scanner to determine whether it’s safe or not.
- Avast! Mobile Security
Avast! is another free app with a number of functions that range from antivirus protection to scanning URLs to detect malware on the web. The app gives users remote control via text message, which allows them to complete basic security precautions like locking or wiping, and other features like playing a siren sound or inhibiting USB debugging.
Your phone, just like any other electronic device or valuable item, needs your protection. Downloading a security app is one way to reduce the risk of identity theft. If you’re still concerned about the vulnerability of your data, you can invest in a service like Identity Guard to monitor your credit file and Social Security Number and notify you of certain activity that could be indicative of fraud.
Investing in an identity theft protection service has never been more critical. Our data and information can go everywhere with us via cellphones and is vulnerable to both physical and digital threats—so our first line of defense against identity theft has to be detection. When we can detect or become aware that our information is being used maliciously we can act to stop it and minimize the negative effects on our financial and personal lives.