Stick with Commonsense Data Protection Tactics

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2010-07-07 Print this article Print


5. Get it to the server

There are few better ways to secure data on a smartphone than to not have it on the device. That's precisely why important data should be uploaded to a server to ensure the content isn't readily accessible on a user's smartphone. Admittedly, there are times when data must be kept on a smartphone. But any sensitive information that isn't required on a smartphone should be kept off of it. Malicious hackers won't be able to access content that isn't there. It's as simple as that.

6. Share nothing and like it

An increasing number of mobile apps available in both Apple's App Store and Google's Android Market ask users to share information about themselves. In most cases, apps ask for permission to access the iPhone's GPS to determine where users are. Although location, in and of itself, isn't necessarily worrisome data to share, offering up information to apps for the sake of getting more out of the program just isn't a good idea. Applications are nothing more than programs that run on top of a mobile operating system. They shouldn't have access to information that they don't necessarily need.

7. Remember resets

It might be a last-ditch action, but restoring a device to factory resets could be a good move for some folks who have fallen victim to malicious apps. As Windows owners know all too well, if the problem can't be easily fixed, the only option is to start from the beginning. If nothing else, such a drastic move ensures that the data that could potentially seep out by way of a malicious app will be kept away. Plus, it removes dangerous apps from the mobile software. Sometimes, simply removing a bad app isn't enough.

8. Consider Android's permissions

Android OS allows third-party apps to perform several actions, including place calls, text messages and more. The issue, according to security experts, who found as much as 20 percent of Android apps are insecure, is that a developer with wrong intentions could potentially violate a user's privacy with all the access they have to the operating system. Google denies that it's as bad as it sounds. The company said in response to those concerns that since users are required to allow permission to information, safeguards are in place. But it's debatable just how desirable it is to allow access to such data, regardless of how permissions work. In any event, Android OS users should vet apps thoroughly before downloading them.

9. Backup is extremely important

Backing up data might seem like an obvious way to keep data secure, but not enough people realize that it could be the single most important aspect of any mobile-security plan. On far too many occasions, users lose data or see their data stolen by hackers. Regular data backups give users the option to leave the house each day with only the data they really need on their smartphone. Backing up gives users more safety and more options. And it plays a key role in mobile security.

10. Stick with known apps

In the end, consumers who are deeply concerned with potential mobile-security problems should only stick with applications that they know they can trust. Although any app can potentially cause a problem, there are some well-known programs that deliver a robust, worthwhile experience for consumers. Typically, those apps come from major names in tech or prominent Websites that are simply extending their product to mobile applications. There are undoubtedly unknown companies offering outstanding applications. But if absolute security is what consumers want, venturing into unknown territories can be extremely dangerous

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel