If you have an smartphone with the Android operating system you know then you phone is packed wiht some wonderful features. For example, one of the more convenient features is the fact that all of your applications on your smartphone(ie-HTC EVO or Incredible) can be linked to your personal Gmail account. This means that once you have linked them you will have access to your email, your documents and other Google functions from multiple devices. From your phone you will have access without having to log into your accounts every time you wish to view them, but unfortunately this poses a grave security threat if you lose your phone.
The Android App Caveat
The downside to this is that if you lose your phone, or if someone steals it, they will have access to your accounts. They will be able to view your email and potentially many personal details, and may also learn information regarding your friends. If you are indiscreet when it comes to discussing phone numbers, addresses, sharing your SSN or banking information then this is a potential disaster in the making. For that reason it is very important to protect your phone.
Secure Your Phone! First Lines Of Defense
One of the first lines of defence for your phone is a PIN number or a PIN pattern lock. By setting PIN protection of either variety you reduce the chances of a person being able to access your phone. This is not foolproof of course, because as with any PIN system is it possible to forget your PIN.
If forgotten and entered incorrectly a certain number of times the phone will lock you out. Under most circumstances there is a forgotten PIN facility that allows you to unlock the phone by entering your Google password instead. Unfortunately there are certain models of Android phone that this will fail to work on, and doing a hard reset is the only way. Though it can be ultimately resolved, it is problematic and the hard reset is a weak point. The hard reset or a factory restore may allow others access to your phone.
If the worst does happen and you lose your phone, you can limit the damage in a similar way to losing your credit card, but you have to act fast. The simplest solution is to change the passwords to anything that you are logged into on your phone very rapidly. This way, the next time your phone attempts to access the accounts they will have the incorrect information and will be rejected. However if the person who has your gets there first, they may be able to change your password first and lock you out.
Alternative Protection Apps
There are a number of applications that can be run on your phone that will offer greater protection. Such applications as SeekDroid or AutoWipe will wipe the SD card as well as any other important information when you send a special code to the phone in a text message sent from another phone. Alternatively they might be used to track a stolen phone so that you can find it.
With a little extra software and some careful consideration, it is possible to safeguard the information that might cause problems for you if it were to be lost.