September 6, 2012

Take Control of Your Mobile Privacy

Turns out American consumers are concerned about their mobile privacy. Today Pew Internet & American Life Project released a survey that shows just how concerned individuals are: six in 10 mobile phone users said they have decided against downloading certain apps over privacy concerns. And in many cases, they uninstalled apps that collected too much personal information about them. Users made those decisions when they learned how much personal information they would share by using the apps. Not only are people worried about mobile privacy, Pew found that approximately 30% of Americans have experienced a lost or stolen phone!

Lookout Premium lets you remotely lock your lost or stolen phoneNothing bums us out more at Lookout than when people stop using their phones to their full potential due to confusion or concern. We want people to feel empowered when using their smartphones and tablets!

In our 2012 State of Mobile Security report, Lookout found mobile privacy to be a growing issue for individuals. Our research shows that aggressive ad networks that could invade privacy have been downloaded more than 80M times.

But you don’t have to give into privacy concerns. Our app helps you protect your privacy and find your lost phone so you don’t have to worry about prying eyes.  Here are more tips for what you can do to take back control of your mobile privacy:

  • Lock your phone when it’s not in use. Chances are you have one-click access to email and your social networks on your mobile device. In case you misplace your phone, you certainly don’t want outsiders to have that same easy access. That’s why it’s important to use your phone’s lock mechanism. If your phone is lost, stolen or even just beyond arms reach, and you don’t have a lock in place, you’re risking sharing a wealth of personal, confidential information. Lock it up!
  • Know who’s eavesdropping. You may be fine with your trusted apps knowing your location or your contact information. But what about that seemingly benign wallpaper app? Why does it need so much of your information? That’s a privacy red flag. Lookout’s Ad Network Detector is a free app that shows you what information the ad networks within the apps on your phone can access, that way you can make informed decisions on which apps to keep or delete.
  •  Don’t overshare. Sure it’s great that you’re staying at the Four Seasons Bali, but does the entire world need to know? Sharing your life events is easy and convenient you’re your phone, but this is also a privacy pratfall. You can do a lot to protect your privacy by putting your social media profiles on lock down. Set your Facebook profile to the strictest privacy settings available, and only share information with people you know and trust. Never post personal details like your address or phone number on a social networking website. And avoid sharing concrete details about your whereabouts on sites like foursquare, Twitter and Facebook—you never know who could be watching.
  • Download a security app. That free version of a paid app doesn’t affect your pocket book, but it’s more likely to have malware. Download a security app that scans every other app you download for malware and spyware, helps you locate a lost or stolen device, and protects you from unsafe websites.
  1. Greg says:

    Great Article.. I love your opening statement “Turns out American consumers are concerned about their mobile privacy” – Brilliant!!

  2. Spencer says:

    How secure are the passwords or trace patterns on a phone? There’s a lot of chatter in the blog-o-sphere about folks who reuse passwords or don’t use secure passwords. What about on phones?

    • @Spencer, you are right that using different, non-obvious passwords for online is important, and yes, the same goes for phones, too. Don’t use the same PIN on your phone as for your ATM card. I think xkcd web comic has the best (and most irreverent) advice on password reuse and password strength.

      As to whether a password or trace pattern is more secure, there’s a lot of math behind the chances someone can crack those passwords, but more tangibly, sometimes the oils from your fingers leave a visible smudge pattern on your phone screen. So if you use a trace pattern to unlock your phone, make sure to wipe your phone screen before setting the phone back down.

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