Two Seconds Makes All the Difference

Stop for a minute and think about your smartphone or tablet. What sort of accounts and information might be compromised if the device was lost or stolen? Doesn’t it make sense to take steps to protect it?

Your mobile device most likely contains all of your contacts, and calendar information. It has personal photos of your family, friends, and co-workers. It has your email, and apps that connect to your various social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

Ideally, you shouldn’t store your password or logon credentials for any of the apps. But, nobody wants to have to enter their username and password every time they want to use the Facebook app, so odds are pretty good that someone who “finds” your smartphone or tablet would have unfettered access to much of your personal information--and possibly sensitive information about other people you know.

That doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do, though. Smartphones and tablets have security features you can enable to easily prevent unauthorized access. You can assign a four-digit PIN, or an actual password, or in some cases a unique pattern to swipe on the display. Unfortunately, many people don’t implement this basic protection, so anyone in possession of the device has complete access to its contents.

Some complain that it’s a nuisance to have to enter a passcode every time they want to use the device. There’s no arguing that it’s less convenient than not having a passcode, but the two seconds it takes to enter a passcode is a small price to pay for some peace of mind.

Locking your mobile device with a passcode is not a “silver bullet” solution. In most cases, you have to choose a timeframe for when the passcode security will kick in. You have to find a balance between protecting the data on your smartphone or tablet, and locking it down so tight that it’s impractical to use.

If the passcode security doesn’t activate until five minutes of idle time have elapsed, then there are potentially five minutes that someone could still have access to the device. And, as long as they continue using it, the device won’t be idle and the passcode security might never turn on.

Still, it’s better than no security at all. Smartphones and tablets are designed to be mobile, which also makes them easy to lose or steal. Locking your device with a passcode will help prevent unauthorized access and protect the sensitive information on your smartphone or tablet in the event it somehow leaves your possession.

For comprehensive coverage of the Android ecosystem, visit Greenbot.com.

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