By Tobias Manolo
With the increase in the use of mobile devices – smartphones, tablets, etc. – and the rise of in BYOD, be it Android or iOS, there are some top rated apps that can help you address security issues, such as encryption and managing passwords. Protecting sensitive and corporate data that is open to theft or loss is sometimes a difficult task when using mobile devices, but these following apps can help you to better protect against security breaches.
LastPass is an app that can help you manage your passwords. We are all at fault in using the same password on a mobile device to access different sites and services; what we should be doing is creating a different, unique password per site or service. This multi-platform app not only helps you manage the passwords you have by storing them in a secure form, but also helps you to generate secure passwords for a site or service. The app is free for a trial period; thereafter there is a subscription fee.
OpenVPN Connect – whether you use a mobile device for personal use or business use, you will still be accessing sites using a VPN, or Virtual Private Network. VPNs are needed to ensure a secure connection; it creates an encryption route between the remote server and your device. If you access corporate applications through your mobile device, VPNs are often the predominant way to view and use these solutions. But even for personal usage, such as accessing sites using Wi-Fi, a VPN connection keeps communications secure. The OpenVPN Connect app for Android ensures that not only are connections secure they are also easy with a compatible server. The app constantly reminds you that you are connected via the VPN, and secure.
Encrypting mobile data – your mobile device is likely to store a large quantity of personal data; just think of all those photos you’ve taken, text messages to friends, loved ones and others, and not forgetting any documents you’ve downloaded and stored on your device! This data is like a magnet to the potential data criminals and unless it’s encrypted, your data is open to theft.
Yes, encrypting data can be complicated; however, there are solutions that can make the process far simpler and easier. For desktop machines, TrueCrypt, a free, open source solution, allows users to create virtual ‘folders’ in which multiple files can be encrypted, stored and shared between devices. For Android users, there is the EDS Lite app which is free and enables you to access TrueCrypt ‘containers’.
Boxcryptor Classic is a data encryption app that is much more user-friendly and will encrypt data stored on cloud platforms, such as MS SkyDrive, Dropbox or Google Drive, automatically. Depending on the functionality you need determines whether you go for the free version or for the paid account, which provides real time encryption to multiple cloud platforms at the same time.
DataNow is an encryption app that is more sophisticated and is more for corporate users. It works end-to-end between corporate resources and client devices.
As more and more of us use our mobile devices to access our emails, encryption of these messages is becoming more important. For Android users, the AGP app integrates Android’s popular mail client K-9 with PGP encryption. Whilst you will still need to implement (and hopefully understand!) private and public keys, the app does make it easier to send email messages that are encrypted, and decode received encrypted emails without the need for cutting and pasting! If you’re an iOS user, then the iPGMail app is more suitable not only for creating PGP keys, but also managing them. The app is not a dedicated email client; however, it does deliver a level of integration with the iOS Mail App that is built-in which allows attachments and messages to be encrypted on-the-fly. The drawback is that messages need to be pasted into the PGP app from the mail app for decoding.
There are a couple of other apps that we would suggest. Avast’s Mobile Security & AntiVirus app for Android users is a useful anti-virus, malware scanning app that also defends against stolen or lost devices. It allows you to disable a lost Android device remotely using ‘disable and wipe’, and you can track its location.
If you’re an iOS user, you don’t need a third-party app to defend against stolen or lost devices, particularly if you’re using iOS7! Apple’s iCloud incorporates a remote device management console that allows stolen, missing or lost devices to be disabled or located remotely using iCloud (but you do need an iCloud account!).
That said, the GPS Location Tracker app does track a mobile device’s location, silently, and can be accessed via a Google Map view. The app also supports ‘geo-fencing’, allowing users to define boundaries and they will get an alert should the mobile device go beyond these virtual ‘fences’. The free account delivers real time tracking and a 7-day movement history; the paid account provides more functionality.