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5 things you absolutely need to do to keep your smartphone secure

Published Jul 2nd, 2014 1:05PM EDT

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Believe it or not, you can have a reasonably secure smartphone without shelling out $630 for the recently released Blackphone. The Wall Street Journal’s Geoffrey Fowler has written up five best practices for making sure the conversations and messages you have on your smartphone stay as private as possible and they’re simple enough for just about anyone to use.

The first and most obvious step you should take is password locking your phone and encrypting its contents. This happens automatically on iPhones after you set a password but on Android phones you’ll have to enable it manually by going to your settings and clicking on the “Phone storage encryption” option. Fowler also recommends that you use encrypted chat and calling apps such as Apple’s FaceTime or third-party apps such as Wickr, TextSecure, BBM and so forth.

Now that your phone is protected by encryption, Fowler recommends that you take some additional steps to ensure your privacy such as making sure you’re running the latest software on your device, using VPNs while connected to unsecured hotspots and getting a second phone that you use only for “super-sensitive” work. This could be where something like the Blackphone or a BlackBerry comes in handy if you’re working in an industry where data security is a No. 1 priority, such as financial services.

A lot of these tips are pretty commonsense but they’re also a good place to start for anyone who’s just gotten a new smartphone and is wondering how to ensure some level of security on it.

Fowler’s full list, along with an interview with Blackphone co-creator Sient Circle’s CTO Jon Callas, can be found by clicking the source link below.

Brad Reed
Brad Reed Staff Writer

Brad Reed has written about technology for over eight years at and Network World. Prior to that, he wrote freelance stories for political publications such as AlterNet and the American Prospect. He has a Master's Degree in Business and Economics Journalism from Boston University.