We're nearing the end of our iPhone vs Android comparison. In this section we talk about mobile Security. It may be something you haven't really thought about. "Why would anyone want to hack my phone?" you might ask. Well, let's think for a second about the amount of personal data you have on your smartphone.
If someone has access to your phone, they can usually easily access you email (and where are your passwords sent when you click "Forgotten Password')? Then there's your location information, your social networks, your internet searches, the websites you've been visiting, your bookmarks, photos and contacts. See what I mean?
Minnestoa has already passed this law and California isn't far behind). This should help reduce the theft issue by making the stolen devices effectively worthless, but for now, it's still a major issue.
On the virtual front, there are a number of simple things that you can do to protect yourself.
iPhonearticle on backup).
To protect yourself, first of all, only download your apps from Google's Play Store. (make sure Settings / Security & Screen Lock / Unknown Sources is unchecked).
Next, always check the permissions that the app is asking for when it installs itself. For example, Angry Birds doesn't need permission to send text messages.
Next, just as on the iPhone, make sure that your phone has a lock. On my Motorola Droid, this can be a pattern, face recognition or a PIN. I've tried the face recognition and it's crap. It can take multiple attempts and is slow. I used to use a pattern because I thought it was cool and easy to remember. Then I met a chap who ran the FBI's Cyber-Crime Prevention team. When he saw me swipe my phone to get into it he said "Don't use a pattern, it's way too easy to crack. Just hold your phone up and look at the screen sideways. You'll see the smear pattern left on the screen. Just trace it one way or the other way and bingo, you're in." Now I use a PIN. Interestingly, he also said that at last count they had over 100,000 known malware and virus' on the Android, but none on the iPhone. I couldn't believe it. None is incredible.
Next, make sure your phone automatically locks (Settings / Security & Screen Lock / Automatically Lock) and that Verify apps is checked (Settings / Security & Screen Lock / Verify apps).
Lookout (my preference), AVG Mobilation Antivirus or Avast Free Mobile Security. These apps will check for malicious apps during installation, premium telephone numbers, find your phone, remotely lock and wipe etc. Having used them on my Droid, they can slow your phone down and cause some hiccups, but in general I believe it's definitely worth any downside.
Remember the saying "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure"? So be sure that you're regularly backing up. On Android that's easy. Just enable your Google+ backup (Settings / Accounts / Google and then make sure everything is checked). You can also see my article on Phone Backup.
So Which Offers the Best Security?Like everything, it's personal preference. I like the iPhone because it offers excellent security without any need to install third party apps which can cause issues. On the other hand, it doesn't offer app permission or the ability to encrypt the phone and SD card. The real take away is to protect yourself by taking these simple steps:
- Be vigilant when using your phone, especially when out and about
- Lock your Device
- Make sure you've recently backed up
- Keep your OS and Apps up-to-date
- Be careful what you click on
- Only download apps from Google or Apple
- Install a mobile security app if you're on Android
- Be careful with public or unsecured WiFi