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5 ways to protect a smart phone

5 ways to protect your smart phone

Last reviewed: March 2011

Smart phones are vulnerable to the same virus, spyware, and phishing threats as your home PC, as well as some risks unique to phones. Here's how to protect yourself.

1. When connecting to your bank, look for the lock symbol on the top bar of your browser window, which indicates a secure "https" site.

2. When downloading apps, carefully read the permissions that the phone's operating system will prompt you to review. An app that wants the ability to send text messages and make phone calls might be a Trojan texter or Trojan dialer, which can initiate calls or messages to a fraudulent phone number to add charges to your cell-phone bill.

3. Never use your smart phone on a public Wi-Fi network to conduct mobile banking, e-commerce, or other business involving user names, passwords, or other personal information. You might unwittingly use the Wi-Fi connection of a crook executing a "man-in-the-middle" attack, which allows him to capture your login and password information.

4. Download apps only from trusted sources to avoid spyware that can transmit your phone conversations, messages, or GPS coordinates to eavesdroppers.

5. Consider installing security software that detects and removes malware and lets you remotely lock or delete data if the phone is lost.

This article appeared in Consumer Reports Money Adviser.

Posted: February 2011 — Consumer Reports Money Adviser issue: March 2011