How to make Android faster, more productive and more secure than iPhone

By Jeff Vance, Network World |  Consumerization of IT, Android, Apple

Android, on the other hand, may be less secure due to its openness, but it's welcoming to third-party security tools. There's no excuse not to have anti-virus software on your phone. There are plenty of free options, such as Lookout, and with a simple download, you can significantly reduce your risks. Most of these antivirus apps also allow you to remotely lock and wipe your phone if it is lost or stolen, and some even allow you to set off an obnoxious alarm, which will either help you find the device if its tucked behind a couch cushion or convince a thief to toss it.

Of course, we'd like to see handset OEMs and the carriers bake antivirus into their various Android versions. It's a simple step that would benefit them, carriers especially, saving bandwidth, protecting against fraudulent charges and so on. We would also like to see carriers adopt network-based mobile malware scanning, such as the solution from Kindsight Security Labs.

9. Stay away from App Stores you do not know.

Google has taken steps to tame the Wild West that was its Market. It now has a "Bouncer" that scans the Market for malware, and despite what Apple apologists may claim, Android was designed from the get-go to make malware less disruptive on phones than it is on PCs by sandboxing apps and forcing apps to ask for permissions (yes, the same permissions that everyone just ignores, but at least they tried).

The trouble is that Android users can download apps anywhere. Don't be lured into doing this. If you aren't using Android Market, make sure you are in a store you know and trust, such as Amazon. Most Android models come with the default setting that doesn't allow you to download apps from "unknown sources." If you've fallen for social-engineering attacks in the past, it's best to leave that box checked.

When you download an app, try to get into the practice of checking permissions. If a game wants to send out SMS messages, for instance, that should be a red flag.

10. Stay away from mobile payments.

Mobile payments are starting to take off, especially in Europe and Asia, and consumers should be wary. The problem with mobile payments is that they are often simply added to your mobile phone bill, and if you find a suspicious charge, your liability will vary from carrier to carrier.

In contrast, if a hacker gets your credit card number and goes on a spending spree, under federal law, your maximum liability for credit card fraud is $50. In other words, credit card fraud is not your problem, it's the bank's. Until you have that level of protection for mobile payments, it's probably smarter and safer to stick with the credit card.

Originally published on Network World |  Click here to read the original story.
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