To say that smartphones are used for more than calling is a major understatement. While you might make a few calls on any given day, you are probably more likely to use that state-of-the-art handheld computer to check your bank accounts, pay your credit cards, buy a birthday gift for your mom and check in on a project at the office.

While you used to concentrate on protecting your desktop computers from viruses, hackers and more, the time has definitely come to help keep your smartphone safe from cybercrooks and peeping Toms who want to gain access to your personal data.

Fortunately, there are a number of apps that can help protect your smartphone as well as deflect hacks, counteract identity theft and more. 

LifeLock

One of the best ways to ensure that your personal information is not stolen and used for nefarious purposes is to invest in an identity theft protection service. For example, LifeLock keeps an electronic eye on your personal info while also monitoring your credit report and banking account details. If anything unusual is spotted, LifeLock will immediately alert you through its mobile app, allowing you to be aware of any issues, even when you are on the go.

Signal Private Messenger

If you routinely text or use voice chats for work or for sending any type of personal data—for example, perhaps your financial advisor will text you updates about your account and you want to be sure the messages stay private—Signal Private Messenger is a terrific app.

Available for both Android and iOS, the free app uses end-to-end encryption to keep messages and phone chats private. You can also store sensitive messages in the app, and it also allows you to create encrypted groups for group chat so you can have private conversations with a number of friends or coworkers at the same time.

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Ghostery Privacy Browser

Going back to the aforementioned birthday gift for your mom, does it drive you batty when you Google “women’s walking shoes,” only to find your social media pages suddenly filled with ads for Nike and Asics shoes? To prevent this from happening, get the Ghostery Privacy Browser app.

The Ghostery app will minimize access to your data by ad trackers and other tools, as well as quickly clear out cookies. Ghostery will also show you who is tracking your data on the websites that you visit, giving you the option to block or unblock them, and its Ghost Mode feature lets you visit sites without them appearing in your browser history—this way, if you have been accessing your bank account and your phone is stolen, the crooks cannot get into your checking account by going through your history.

Anti-malware apps

Just like you protect your computer from viruses and malware, you should do the same for your smartphone. There are a number of antivirus apps that you can download and use; Mactip.net recently reviewed 10 of the best options that will help protect your phone or tablet.

For instance, Lookout Mobile Security is a free app that will back up your personal data and alert you to any iOS updates that are still pending. McAfee Security is another security app that will wipe your contacts remotely if need be, locate your lost smartphone, lock photo albums and videos to make sure they stay private and back up your contacts. And one of our personal favorites is Malwarebytes for iOS and Android.

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Safety: just an app away

It is reassuring to know that we can protect our smartphones and our business from cybercriminals. By downloading some or all of these apps and investing in an identity theft protection service, you can rest assured that your personal data will remain on your phones and will not be hacked.


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