Where's Yours? Got a smartphone or tablet?
There are many apps available for smartphones, the Blackberry and Android based tablets that use GPS (Global Positioning Systems) to help you track them should they become lost or stolen. Some of these apps are free, others are not and some may be available as part of a package of other functions.
Which one you choose is up to you but you should research any apps you have concerns about before downloading them.
To safeguard your phone or tablet you should:
- Read the app's reviews. The reviews posted in the Android Market can sometimes be inconclusive or misleading. However, recent structured complaints about misconduct should be a clear warning.
Check the apps permissions. If an Android app wants to do anything more involved than responding to your direct input, even just going online, it must seek authority in a "permission's list" shown before you download it. Ensure you examine the permissions.
Requests for access to the phone's storage and internet connection should be fine assuming the app stores data and displays online information or adverts. But if an app requests activity that has no clear link to it’s function, be cautious.
In particular, beware of requests relating to access to your contacts list, calendar or browsing history, monitoring or placing of phone calls or sending text messages.
- When in doubt, search. If an app's reviews are inconclusive and its permissions raise concerns, try doing a simple Web search linking the app’s name and eg malware?.
- Install Anti Virus Software. Make sure that you keep this software up to date to stop newly developed threats affecting your phone or computer.