The whole point of mobile devices is to make life easier and more fun. But lose your device or have it swiped, and you’ll quickly trade ease and fun for hassle and identity theft.
Fortunately, it’s possible to protect your device — even if it lands in the wrong hands. All it takes is a little initiative and a small budget. Check out these top five security apps:
Security App No. 1: Find My iPhone
Helps you … Locate your device and the thief
Find My iPhone can help you locate your lost iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch on a GPS-powered map. You can force your device to play a loud sound (even if it’s in silent mode), lock it, display a message, or — if you’re really desperate — permanently delete all of your data. Just don’t use this app to go vigilante on your thief; if you locate your phone, it’s safer to ask a police officer to escort you to get it back.
Available on: iOS devices. For Android, try Where’s My Droid
Security App No. 2: mSecure
Helps you … Store and manage passwords
Do you store your passwords in a note or email? MSecure is an affordable and powerful alternative. The app stores all the most important personal info you need while surfing the Web — passwords, bank account numbers, credit cards, etc. — and uses 256-bit data encryption, which is basically impenetrable. It comes in a desktop version for Mac (purchased separately), and your data can sync with your iOS or Android devices, as long as they’re on the same Wi-Fi network.
Available on: iOS and Android devices
Security App No. 3: Webroot Mobile Security
Helps you … Stay safe from viruses, malware and spam
If you’re a PC user, you probably have an antivirus suite installed on your machine. Webroot Mobile Security [disclosure: Webroot is the sponsor of Every Day Connected] is the mobile equivalent, protecting your device from pretty much any external intrusion that could threaten your data. It scans apps before install, blocks and removes malicious ones, helps you prevent spam calls and texts, and blocks harmful websites. It also offers remote locate and remote wipe features, so you can skip the “Where’s My Droid” app if you have this one.
Available on: Android. Currently, there is no iOS equivalent because, as a non-open source system, iOS is less vulnerable to attacks. But if you jailbreak your iPhone, your vulnerability increases
Security App No. 4: Folder Lock
Helps you … Keep files and folders private
Folder Lock lets you transfer files from your computer to your iOS device over Wi-Fi and password-protect them, filling a gap in iOS’s native capabilities. You can also transfer photos from your device’s existing photo gallery into Folder Lock. This app makes it easy to protect sensitive business documents or photos, hide notes about your significant other’s upcoming surprise party or conceal anything else you’d rather keep to yourself.
Available on: iOS devices. For Android, try iLock
Even if you don’t employ these standout apps, you’d be smart to utilize your device’s basic security capabilities. Sure, it might be a pain to require a password to unlock your device or to never store passwords in your apps, but you’ll be glad you bothered if your device is ever stolen.