Your Device’s Physical Security: Being Proactive
There is almost no worse feeling than reaching for your phone and realizing it’s not in your pocket or purse. Did you leave it somewhere? Has it been stolen? Will you ever see it again? Absolute panic sets in almost instantly – the thoughts of someone having access to so much of your personal information is nothing short of terrifying.
Fortunately, there are precautions you can take before something tragic happens to better the chances of getting your device back. While there are actually a few different options that allow you to be proactive, I’d like to focus on the one I feel is the most powerful: avast! Mobile Security.
If you’re familiar with the name “avast!,” then you’re probably thinking “What? An antivirus solution will help save my phone?” In short, the answer to that is yes, but not because of the application’s antivirus/antimalware features. You see, before avast! was even released on Android, they bought a smaller company called IT Agents. This company happened to make an absolutely unmatched anti-theft solution for Android called Theft-Aware that remains one of the most powerful I’ve ever seen. That functionality was not only incorporated into avast’s Android app, but it was also expanded to become ever more useful.
The Amount of Utility Packed Into This One App is Astounding
Before we get into the anti-theft features, however, I want to give a brief rundown of everything else that avast! can do.
For starters, it is of course an antivirus/antimalware solution for your mobile device. There are numerous debates across the internet over whether or not this type of functionality is actually necessary, but that’s a moot point when discussing the benefits of avast! Just think of it as another level of protection.
Past that, the app offers advanced application management, a privacy advisor, web, app, file, and message shields; SMS and call filters, a firewall, and network meter. It’s hard to believe that all this comes in a free package. That’s right – there’s no upfront cost, no in-app purchases, or any other type of cost for avast!. Basically, you have no reason not to install it.
Getting the Best Possible Outcome if Your Device is Ever Lost or Stolen
Setting up anti-theft is incredibly easy, and it even has optional deep integration that requires root access. While that isn’t necessary, it definitely kicks the protection level up a notch by preventing the application from being removed (even in the case of a device wipe), as well as giving it access to advanced system features like GPS, and the ability to perform functions like a full data wipe. But that’s not even the best part.
The best part to me is without a doubt the online dashboard. Once you register the app with your avast! account, you can essentially control every aspect of the device remotely through the dashboard. Past that, it also lets you track your device so you know exactly where it is.
For example, let’s say someone lifts your phone from a coffee shop table while you’re ordering a drink. Once you realize it’s missing, you can fire up the account dashboard and mark the device as lost, which will immediately cause a number of user-customizable things to happen. Among these things are: lock the device, sound a siren, deny access to phone settings, prevent USB debugging, force the data connection to stay on, and let you know if the battery gets low.
Past that, you can then send the ‘locate’ command, which will enable GPS (if it isn’t already) and give you the exact location of the device, complete with a map that will lead you right to it. As if all that’s not enough, you can even have avast! forward any calls and/or SMS messages to another phone number, so you’ll have a better idea of where your poor device may be. If you feel all hope is lost, you can even remotely tell avast! to completely wipe the device so none of your private data makes it into the wrong hands. Oh – it can also do all this automatically if the SIM card is removed and/or changed.
Device Security is No Joke
Users keep some of their most personal information tucked deep within the silicon of their mobile, so risking that falling into the wrong hands is something that no one has to do. While there are many other solutions available – like Prey, Cerberus, Lookout, SeekDroid, and so many more – I stand by avast! and the protection it offers. The peace of mind it provides is absolutely invaluable to me. I implore each and every person who reads this to look into an anti-theft solution; even if you decide on something other than avast!, it’s well worth the trouble.
About the Author
Cameron is a die-hard Android fan and Senior Editor for Android Police. When he’s not on the beat covering all the happenings in the Android world, you can usually find him tinkering with (read: breaking) his mobile devices or spending time with his family.