Is your tablet or smartphone giving away your identity?

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With many users now treating their iPads, tablets and smartphones like PCs, the risk of picking up viruses or attracting hackers has increased tenfold, says Jennifer Scott.

We continue our internet security series, in association with Trend Micro, with the following guide to tablet safety

Since Apple’s success with the launch of the iPad in 2010, there has been a boom in the technology industry and other companies have followed suit, including BlackBerry with its PlayBook and HP with its TouchPad, but neither have reached the popularity of Apple’s trailblazer.

Google wants to change that. The internet company went mobile in 2008 with its Android operating system. Like Windows on PCs or OSX on Macs, Android is the software in control.

Android is open source. This means the code is developed by a community of techies, working together on the software. The code is then free for anyone to use, which the likes of HTC, Samsung and Sony have on their handsets.

The code has gone from smartphones to tablets, and since then we have seen many tablets launched, like the Motorola Xoom or Amazon’s Kindle Fire, all based on the Android operating system.

Think security

The issue is, unlike when you buy a new PC, anti-virus software doesn’t come as part of the deal. Yet, users to treat their phones or tablets like PCs, checking emails, doing online shopping or even internet banking.

As more people buy these devices, they also become more appealing to hackers. There are more PCs than Macs, for example, so there are more viruses designed to attack them. Also, being open source, it’s easier for hackers to find vulnerabilities in the public code.

Trusting the old guard

Companies known for protecting your PCs started moving their defences onto your smartphones or tablets.

Trend Micro has done this with its Mobile Security Personal Edition for Android. The software scans apps you download for viruses, gives protection when surfing the web and enables call blocking lists for more peace of mind.

With or without software, you must always:

– Ensure you enable passcode and lock your device

– Don’t save passwords in apps on your device

– Always check links sent via text or over the internet are legitimate

– Use a trusted application, such as Trend Micro, to allow remote wiping of your device

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4 thoughts on “Is your tablet or smartphone giving away your identity?

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    April 29, 2012 at 8:20 pm

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