Just last month a post on the Sophos security blog indicated that the Stagefright Android virus had reared its ugly head back into the limelight. The Stagefright virus is certainly one any Android user should be afraid of, you can infect your phone just by having a MMS message sent to it (even if you don’t open it). According to the firm who discovered the vulnerability, there are potentially 950 million devices at risk.
That’s insane. Now, last year (2014), iOS beat out Android in terms of market share in the U.S., however, many predicted that Android would top iOS in terms of market share in the U.S. by the end of 2015. Personally, if there was any part of me that wanted an Android device it’s now gone.
That being said if you do have an Android device and you’re not looking to switch over to iOS, there’s one thing that we can all learn from this virus: we need to take privacy and security seriously, even more so when it comes to letting other people handle our devices.
The makers of HotSpot Shield, a popular VPN service, just launched a brand new Android-only app that lets you password protect any app on your Android device.
It’s called Privacy Wizard, and it lets you lock any app on your Android phone with a specific prompt. For example, you can make it pop up an incoming phone call, or a “this app has failed to load” prompt, or even a fake fingerprint scanner when someone tries to access an app that has been protected (or as the app calls it “Covered”). Of course, if you want access to the app in question, that’s a whole different story. When you setup an app to be Covered, you will also configure your own way around these prompts and into your app. Additionally, you can choose to secure them further with a pattern or 4-digit numeric lock.
Now, your friends can’t just pick up your phone and make prank texts or worse, see that embarrassing selfie you forgot to delete. Plus, for parents, it’s great because now your kids can’t just open Candy Crush and buy $500 worth of gold bars.
The list of possible use cases goes on and on, ranging from nosey significant others who want to check your text messages and call logs, parents who want to snoop and check your social media pages, to just keeping your phone more secure in case you happen to lose it or have it stolen. The last thing you need to worry about if you lose your phone is whether or not someone is using it as a free Uber ride card on your dime.
Privacy Wizard Features
✔ Lock any apps on your device (Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Uber, Paypal, Drive).
✔ Use different covers (unknown caller, fingerprint touch ID, voice authentication, error message).
✔ Password protect your apps with either a 4-digit password or a unique pattern.
✔ Have piece of mind when you hand over your phone to your kids or friends, knowing they won’t access your personal info.
You can download it for free via Google Play.