Most of us have several mobile devices, possibly from more than one manufacturer. Fortunately, the same tracking issues apply across all mobile devices and they resemble those for the internet, discussed in my previous post. Brands do make a difference in mobile, though. I’ll make this as non-technical as possible by identifying three main areas of concern.
First, the issue of antivirus protection. Mobile devices can be infected with viruses and other malware, but the antivirus software that is the first line of defense on the internet does not work as well on mobile. Brands matter a lot here. Apple products have their own strong privacy protection and do not give outside apps the kind of device-wide access they need to function properly. Still, most of the major antivirus software suites offer mobile protection. Here’s an article that explains in a straightforward manner. Do read reviews carefully before you decide to install any security app.
There are many security apps for Android devices, many of them from well-known developers. However, there is a great deal of agreement among security experts that they do not add much to the user’s protection. Far better is to keep all phone software and apps updated and keep up your guard against phishing scams. Be especially careful about downloading Android apps from sites other than Google Play.
Second is the issue of apps themselves. Some apps are riddled with malware that steals personal data. Warning: if the app is designed to do something unethical or potentially illegal like downloading content that should be paid for, it has a high probability of carrying malware and you should avoid it.
Wearable devices are a special category when it comes to location tracking. Whether it’s a smart watch or a fitness device or a medical tracking device, they have the ability to know your exact location at any given time. That can be a blessing as well as a curse. In the event of illness or accident wearables can allow the user to summon help and provide the correct location. That assumes the device is set to allow those functions, and, in the name of safety, they probably should be. The settings for medical devices should be discussed with the care provider, with attention being paid to both personal safety and data security.
Here are some general solutions for both internet and mobile:
By now, you’ve realized that both internet and mobile devices are collecting a lot of data about you. I’ll do one more follow-up on how to remove stored data.