Smartphone Security – Protecting your Personal Information

Mobile devices are taking over the way that we work, play and interact with people on a daily basis. Thus, securing these devices should be a top priority, but all too often it’s not.  With the growing popularity and increased utility of smartphones comes greater vulnerability.  Today’s smartphones are faster than an average computer purchased 10 years ago, the htc Evo 4G has a 1 GHz processor and 512 MB RAM while a desktop computer purchased in 2001 was likely to only have a 900 MHz process and 512 MB RAM.

These devices carry a wealth of information, personal and otherwise, making our smartphones a prime target for criminals.  In a world of phishing, hacking, and spam we need a set of tools to restrict access to these devices.  Here are a few quick tips for securing Android devices.

Secure Your Settings

Password Protection – Lock your screen with a pin code, pattern lock or password.

Bluetooth – turn off Bluetooth when it is not in use.

GPS – turn off the GPS locator when it is not in use.

Droid Wall – OLDa firewall for Android

For users that don’t have truly unlimited data plans, which only Sprint still offers, this app is a must.  Droid Wall allows apps unrestricted WiFi access, however it blocks all access over the cellular network unless you add the application to the white list.  Droid Wall can be found in the Android App store or by following this link https://market.android.com/details?id=com.googlecode.droidwall&feature=related_apps

Note:  the new Droid Wall is for rooted devices.

Safe Browsing

Email and web browsing on a smartphone present the same threats as they do on a computer, including phishing attacks, malicious websites, infected attachments, and scams. If you receive an e-mail that looks suspicious or sounds too good to be true, do not respond to it or click on embedded links.  When browsing the internet, limit your browsing to well-known, trusted websites and use SSL encryption whenever possible (https://).

Orweb + Orbot

Orweb is a privacy enhanced web browser that uses the Tor network (a system intended to enable online anonymity).  When used with the Orbot (Tor on Android) app, this web browser provides enhanced privacy features.  Through the use of Tor Orweb allows you to conceal your location and usage from someone conducting network surveillance or traffic analysis.  Using Tor makes tracing Internet activity, including visits to Web sites, online posts, instant messages and other communication forms, to the user more difficult.  Oorweb browser and Orbot can be downloaded from the Android market or by following the links below.

https://market.android.com/details?id=info.guardianproject.browser&feature=search_result

https://market.android.com/details?id=org.torproject.android&feature=related_apps