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4 Things You Can Do to Secure Your Smartphone

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Every time you slip your smartphone out of its case, you're holding a storehouse of personal information, and most likely an access point into your company network.

Whether iPhone, Windows, Android or Blackberry, we've become dependent on the convenience of handheld devices. But, along with that convenience and added productivity, they've also blessed us with some heightened security risks. Here are four things that you can do to secure your smartphone.

1. Set a Password

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Yes, it sounds ridiculously simple. But setting a password is the first step to securing your smart phone. All of the major smartphone operating systems allow you to set a password and automatically lock your phone after a period of inactivity. Taking this simple step will help keep prying eyes away from your data should you ever misplace your phone.

Need help creating a strong password? Take a look here.

2. Install Security Software

It's an indicator of how serious an issue smartphone security has become: the top antivirus providers offer software specifically designed to protect handhelp devices. It's worth your while to review all of your options and choose a solution that best fits your needs. To get you started, here are the top picks:

  • Norton has an antivirus package specifically for Android mobile platforms.

  • AVG offers both a free and a "pro" version of anti-virus for Android devices. In addition to scanning for malware, this app will also locate lost or stolen devices and allow you to lock or wipe your handheld remotely.
  • F-Secure offers mobile anti-virus for Android, Symbian and Windows mobile devices on a monthly subscription basis. You can also download a free version of their anti-theft application which will locate your GPS enabled device and also allow you to lock or wipe the phone remotely.
  • Lookout Mobile Security distributes anti-virus on a free or monthly subscription basis. The free app will scan for viruses, malware and spyware, backup your contacts and locate a lost or stolen phone. The subscription version will also remotely lock or wipe your device and backup photos and call history. Lookout works with Blackberry, Android and Windows Mobile devices.

3. Enable Remote Wipe

It's a sickening feeling, to suddenly realize that your smartphone (along with its pictures, business contacts, emails, etc.) is still in the backseat of a taxi. Or worse yet, that it's been stolen. Or that you don't have the foggiest idea where you last put it down.

In a worst-case scenario, your only recourse is to remotely wipe your data.

Blackberry, iPhone, Windows Mobile, and Palm platforms include remote wipe capabilities. For Android devices you'll need a third party app such as Lookout, F-Secure or AVG to get the job done.

Click here for detailed advice on enabling or installing remote wipe on your handheld device.

4. Download Trusted Apps

Sure, it's cool to jailbreak your iPhone. But be aware that when you step outside the closed environment of a trusted app store, you are exposing yourself to the malware that these sources screen out.

Even though the Library of Congress rejected Apple's claims that jailbreaking was copyright infringement, if your business issues iPhones, or allows them on your network, you should weigh the risks of jailbreaking and issue a policy on iPhone practices.

All of the major platforms have trusted app sources, including the iPhone App Store, the Android Market and the BlackBerry App World.

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