Smartphone Security – Easy to Use Security Apps to Protect the Data, Photos, Messages, email and Banking Information on a Phone Right Now
Apps to protect your smartphone should be a priority to secure your phone or when setting up a new smartphone. Our phones contain the secrets to our personal lives and apps to access our money. We use our phones to shop online, store private photos, send private messages, take care of our banking, and send sensitive work emails and files. Deleting apps that are not longer wanted and keeping neccessary apps up to date is not enought to protect a phone from hackers.
If a phone were to be lost, stolen, or hacked the damage to our lives could take years to correct. An unprotected smartphone makes it easy for hackers to steal your money and identity. Even if there are no banking apps or credit card apps on your phone, there is a wealth of other personal information. Hackers can use email addresses and information on social media to hack into more sensitive and valuable accounts. People often use the same email address for Instagram that they do for their bank, which gives a hacker an important piece to hack their way to stealing your money. That’s why it is so important to protect a phone with a few apps. Although there is no guarantee you are hacker proof, you can certainly make it much harder for the casual scammer.
READ: Is It Safe to Shop On a Smartphone?
How Can I Protect My Phone Privacy?
Protect your phone privacy by enabling native security features that come with almost all newer smartphones. This includes using phone login security features. Your phone should have at least password protected login screen. If not, it may be time for an upgrade.
Although using a PIN or password protection is better than no phone protection, using biometrics to protect a phone is better. Newer Apple and Android phones can use either facial recognition or fingerprint login. In the case of an iPhone, all the data on your phone is encrypted every time you log out. If your smartphone is ever lost or stolen, requiring a strong login can protect the photos, conversations, and financial information. Protecting the individual apps is also important and they can be protected with the security features inherent to each one of them, if they have them available.
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Apps to Protect a Phone Fall into Three Groups
- Communication Apps
- Login Protection
- WiFi and Data Protection
- Antivirus Apps
How Secure Are Mobile Apps?
There’s no guarantee that any mobile app is secure. One of the best things you can do to secure your smartphone is to only download apps from official app stores like Google Play and the Apple store. It’s usually also safe to download apps from well-known, official app developer websites. For example, I downloaded my copy of IPVanish VPN for my phone right from their website rather than Google Play. That’s because there are a few more features available when you download directly from the developer.
However, you shouldn’t download apps from other unknown and untrusted websites. One of the riskiest things you can do is to download another app or game from within a game that you’re currently playing. Hackers and scammers run ads within games to trick players into downloading another game. The new game is downloaded outside of the app store and infects the phone with malware or adware.
Although Apple and Google both police their app stores, there’s still no guarantee that an app is secure. When you download a new app to your phone, make sure you only give it permissions to access features that it actually needs to run. For example, a flashlight app does not need access to your contacts or your photo gallery. Requesting excessive permissions is a sign that the app is not secure and may hack into personal information, steal money, or run other apps in the background.
How Do You Protect Apps?
It’s surprising that major apps, like Hulu do not help users protect their account with common security features like two-factor authentication. Many apps do not even require strong passwords. Protect apps on your smartphone by using native security features like two-factor authentication (2FA), a PIN, or enabling biometric login if the app has it available. You can also download third-party authenticator apps and use that to secure your phone email or other apps on your phone use a unique password for each online account so this may seem like a daunting task a third-party password manager may be a good choice.
What Is the Best Mobile Phone Security App?
There is no one best mobile phone security app. However, it’s a good idea to stick with a brand name that is well known and has good reviews. Smartphone security apps such as McAfee antivirus protect your phone as well as tablets, laptops, and desktop computers. Better mobile phone security apps can be used on multiple devices. Security apps block users from spoof websites, detect malware, phishing emails. Up to date antivirus protection as well is important too.
Ransomware attacks often begin when unsuspecting shoppers are tricked into clicking on links in an email which then leads the reader to a spoof website or downloads a virus. The malware can infect every device in your home that shares the same network and it can even compromise your employer’s entire corporate network. Malware detection and virus protection apps help protect the data and financial information on your phone as well as that of other devices connected to the same network.
Can You Tell If Your Phone Is Hacked?
You may be able to tell that your phone is hacked by the speed at which apps accept input or how fast they open and close. Maybe you’ve notice that sometimes when your Phone downloads an update or an app is upgraded but your phone is suddenly slow to respond to input from the keyboard or to open and close apps often when a Phone is hacked the user will be locked out of the keyboard for certain apps when malware infects a phone the user may not be able to shut down the phone at all because the malware is protecting itself from being reset other science at your phone has been hacked include apps or ads that pop up in the background high data usage overheating and low battery life if you don’t protect your phone with malware or antivirus protection your only option may be to try and factory reset the phone in which case you would lose all of your photos messages and data.
8 Cyber Security Apps to Protect a Smartphone
Mobile Security App
Prevent viruses, malware and ransomware. McAfee detects over 99 percent of malwares, well above the industry average for smarthone security protection. McAfee has apps for Android, Windows, iPhones, and IOS devices. VPN service cost additional money.
Use a Mobile Wallet for Safe Shopping from Your Phone
A mobile wallet is an app used to store payment information such as debit cards credit cards and even your PayPal login when you use a mobile wallet you won’t have to present a physical card at stores this prevents the retailer from obtaining your full payment card information and it also protects your credit card from being stolen from credit card skimmers like those found in gas stations mobile wallets are generally free to download and use and offer a layer of protection for all of your credit cards.
RELATED READ: How to Unlink a Payment Method from Android Wallet
Find My Phone
Find My is a service provided by Apple to help find missing iPhones, Mac computers, Apple Watch, and AirPods, and other iOS devices. Find My Phone is the Google Android equivalent that can be typed into any web browser that is logged into the same Google Account.
Dump Your Nonsecure Messaging Apps
Dump your default messaging app. Signal private Messenger is an SMS text messaging app I use on my phone every day signal offers an to end encryption which is the most secure form of messaging with signals end to end encryption the contents and images sent in a text message are encrypted and secured and cannot be decrypted by anyone else except the intended recipient like all end to end encryption apps the recipient must also be using private messaging signal is easy to use and free to download there’s also an indicator on the message that lets you know if the recipient is using end to end encryption you are also able to set an expiration date on the message so it is erased after a preset amount of time.
Use Secure Messaging Apps Instead
Secure messaging apps offer end to end encryption, so your text messages chats voice and video communications are kept secure between you and the intended recipient many secure messaging apps are free to use I use WeChat, WhatsApp, Telegram and even Messenger Lite for voice communications, video calls, and texting. However even though all of those apps offer end-to -end encryption, Messenger Lite and WhatsApp are both owned by Facebook which does not have a good track record for respecting user privacy. Facebook is notorious for farming and using app data, recording user data behaviors, sharing access with vendors, and has been involved in numerous data compromises.
Antivirus App for Phone Security
Webroot WiFi Security is an easy to use all-in-one antivirus, VPN, and internet content filter. Webroot WiFi security is good for those who want phone protection for the entire family by limiting content seen by their children on their phones, devices, or tablets. Webroot includes a VPN protection for Windows, Mac, Android and iOS devices plus antivirus protection. It also has system optimization features to help your laptop or desktop run faster.
Keeper Security password vault remembers your passwords and lets you Log into your websites and apps with your face or fingerprint. The app secures your passwords and private information. Keeper generates strong passwords that makes them harder to hack.
The app can also secure your passwords and private information.
Encrypt Mobile Data with a VPN
A virtual private network, known as a VPN, encrypts all data, communications, images, and information sent from your phone. This keeps usernames, passwords, login credentials, and any payment information private and secure. That way if you’re using a nonsecure WiFi network or any public WiFi connection, your information is safe, even if it is intercepted by a hacker, it cannot be decrypted.
VPNs are computer and phone privacy apps that users download to your phone and turn on to use. It’s best to use one full-time. VPNs are available as free apps and as paid monthly services. Free VPN apps usually come with data usage limitations and many do not allow streaming content. Paid VPN services, like NordVPN and IPVanish VPN, (I’ve used them both) are only a few dollars a month and have no data limits. They work worldwide and can be used to watch block content like Netflix or sporting events in areas where they are not allowed due to geographical restrictions.
Michelle writes about cyber security, data privacy focusing on social media privacy as well as how to protect your IoT devices. She has worked in internet technology for over 20 years and owns METRONY, LLC. Michelle earned a B.S. in Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Michelle published a guide to Cyber Security for Business Travelers