Health IS Technology Blog

Smartphone Security and You

Smartphone security app on screen, thumb touching app logo.Having one device that can hold all of your information easily and in a mobile form has made every day life significantly easier. However, with any groundbreaking innovation comes groundbreaking security issues. In this article we’ll look at smartphone security and the many ways you can improve yours.

Smartphone Security and Fingerprint Sensors

iphone with fingerprint identity

In the last five years fingerprint sensors have become one of the most common tools used to unlock smartphones.

In the last five years fingerprint sensors have become one of the most common tools used to unlock smartphones. Recently, two groups of researchers at New York University and Michigan State University found that there are ways to digitally generate fingerprints that can fool those sensors. Because manufacturers have implemented the fingerprint sensors in extremely secure services like Apple Pay, having a way to hack them is incredibly beneficial to the people who want to hack into your secure information.

Most of the researchers involved in the study agree that this form of hacking is highly unlikely. Still, it is best to be as prepared as you can be. One of the ways to combat being hacked through your fingerprint sensor is to set up a mandatory passcode. Make sure it is unique enough that even someone close to you couldn’t easily guess it.


How Can You Secure Your Smartphone?

Only download trusted apps from trusted sources. Trusted sources include the Google Play store, the Apple App store, Amazon, or Microsoft’s Windows store. While outside application sources aren’t inherently bad, the risk of downloading a malware infested app far outweighs the potential worth. You also want to make sure that you’re checking every application’s privacy settings before downloading them. Most of us ignore the terms and conditions of just about everything we download, but the fact of the matter is that something malicious might be hiding in those conditions. Before you check the “I have read” box, at least read through the privacy section.

It’s also vital that you update your device’s software and the apps you have installed, regularly. Because malware and viruses are constantly evolving, your device’s software must do the same to stay protected.

To protect your information from potential robberies, be sure to install a tracking application on your device. Apple IOS has the Find My iPhone app, while Android has the Android Device Manager. Should your device be misplaced or snatched, both of these apps give you the option to delete the information you choose from anywhere.


What is the Best Security App for Smartphones?

As technology has evolved, so have hackers’ abilities to infiltrate that tech. Smartphone security is a much higher priority now, and so a great deal of security apps have appeared on the market. The tracker apps that come with your device are vital to security, but they come in handy after a physical theft has occurred. It’s important to protect your device with software that will find and prevent digital attacks before they become a problem, too.

You have the option to either buy malware protection software or download a trusted one for free. Which choice you make depends on you and your own security needs, as well as your budget. Digital Trends recommends the free Sophos app for Android users’ security. For iPhone users, the Avast antivirus app is another option.

While a lot of free security apps may be just as functional or trustworthy as paid ones, if your device is loaded with personal or professional information, you may want to take the initiative and invest in a household name. Take a look at USF Safe Computing for more information and best recommendations.


Apple versus Android: Which is Better for Smartphone Security?

One of the main differences between Apple and Android is that Android devices are highly customizable while Apple devices are not. What’s tricky is that customization can either be your deciding factor or your deal breaker.

When it comes to personalization and control over your device, having a smartphone that you can customize is great. But for security purposes, being able to customize your device opens a whole can of security worms. Apple has complete control over what applications are available for iPhone users, whereas Samsung keeps a longer leash on Android users and the apps they install. Because of this, you can feel more comfortable downloading things onto your iPhone than your Android, but security doesn’t stop at downloads.

Here is a short breakdown of Apple versus Android in the battle of smartphone security:

  • Because Android is more customizable, users are able to control their own privacy settings. However, this also means that devices may be made more vulnerable by inexperienced users.
  • Because Apple is not customizable, users can feel confident in terms of what can and cannot infiltrate their device through downloads. On the other hand, because Apple devices aren’t customizable, they rely primarily on the security guidelines of Apple alone. This can cause some problems in terms of malware.
  • Apple’s stronghold on their technology can negatively impact security diagnostics, while Android devices do not face the same hindrance in terms of security diagnostics.

Android throws icon of AppleIn a lot of ways, Android and Apple are the same in terms of security. They are also very different. In the end, the choice you make boils down to which you like Android gets hit by Apple iconbetter. You may like Apple for its consistency, or you may like Android for its adaptability. Neither is inherently more vulnerable than the other. As long as you are smart with your device usage and utilize the security resources available to you, your device should be safe.