Is your cell phone safe?

7 tips on downloading mobile apps and increasing your phone’s security.cell phone security

It seems that almost everyone owns a smart phone. You can access the internet, e-mail, share files, play games and even print. All that information can be stored on your phone; does this mean we should be concerned about security? You bet.

Here are some ways to keep them out:

  1. You get what you don’t pay for.
    Most free apps you can download in the app store are sponsored in order to help pay for the app and its updates. Some use simple ads, while others gather information from your phone and sell it to marketers to pay the bills. Apps that you pay for are less likely to do this.
  2. Just say no to 3rd party apps.
    Some people have found ways around paying for apps by downloading them from websites. Stay away from this. Google and Apple both have security requirements in order to post an app in their stores. Websites don’t have these restrictions and the apps they offer may have been modified to include malicious code.
  3. Check the rating. Read the reviews.
    See what people are saying about the app. A good rating is not enough. Somebody may have noticed a problem with an app’s behavior and is trying to warn others.
  4. The less permissions, the better.
    You may notice when you are about to install an app that there are certain permissions that appear (iPhone users should check under Details before installing). Some apps need to access your phone’s account information, call history or the internet. Sometimes this is necessary for the app itself to function and other times it is not. Ask yourself if these permissions correspond with what the app is meant to do. The less permissions the app requires, the safer it is.
  5. Be careful when you update.
    Apps don’t always get better as they go. Sometimes the developer will release an update with bugs or the newer version may now have ads. Again, refer to the reviews to see who is unhappy about the newer version and why, before you decide to update.
  6. Install a mobile security app.
    If you are worried about the current state of your mobile device you can try installing a security app. ESET Mobile Security, 360 Mobile Security and BitDefender are among the best apps right now. They will allow you to scan for malicious apps, do a security check and some even help you recover a lost phone.
  7. Backup your data.
    Like the data on your computer, you should never keep it in only one place. Make sure you have a copy of your files, pics and music on your computer or a backup drive. If you’re not sure you can live without those files, back them up. Try Google Drive or Dropbox.

Still have questions or need help? Feel free to let me know at

Howard DeAlvarado owns Computer Ace, a Phoenix based computer repair and services company. He has over 18 years of computer service expertise and is MS & A+ certified. Follow on Google + as well as Twitter.