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Sunday August 17, 2014 5:07 pm

4 Ways to Protect Yourself from Smartphone Theft

device awareness month

As we mentioned last week, we're celebrating Device Theft Awareness Month in conjunction with Absolute LoJack. We gave you a rundown of just how big a problem device theft is nowadays, with over 3 million people becoming victims of smartphone theft just last year alone. It's a growing problem that you can protect yourself from, and this week we wanted to share three tips that you can do to avoid permanently losing your device or data in the event of loss.

1. Create a passcode for your device. This is a simple method of protecting the data that lives on your device in the event of loss or theft. Some Android devices will allow you to set a pattern instead of an alphanumeric code, and the iPhone 5s and later lets you use Touch ID fingerprint recognition. Any of these are a better option than not protecting the home screen of your device, which will let prying eyes get to anything on your product.

2. If your smartphone offers location tracking, turn it on. This is another simple feature that allows you to track the location of your phone remotely. It helps if you aren't sure if you left your phone in the car, or back at the office, but is also great if you know you lost it or that it was taken. You can use the information to track a stolen smartphone and communicate the whereabouts to law enforcement if you do find that your property is currently sitting in some random home (but whatever you do, don't try and go all vigilante yourself!) After you report a stolen smartphone with proof of location, it'll be easier for the police to assist in getting it back.

3. Enable automatic backup of your data. If your smartphone platform of choice offers automatic backup of the data on your device to a secure cloud service, turn it on. With this enabled, if you do lose your device and don't get it back, at least you know that you haven't lost the actual data. Apps, settings, photos, movies, etc. will all be safe. If you get a replacement device, you just log in and pull down the backup, and you are quickly up and running. For many people, the information stored on a mobile device is more important than the device itself. For extra protection, as much of a hassle as it is, you should also manually backup your device to a computer on a regular basis. Better safe than sorry.

4. Supercharge your security with a service like Absolute LoJack. If you use a recent Android smartphone or tablet, then you'll be able to take advantage of the Absolute LoJack smartphone tracking software. The nice thing about this? Absolute LoJack incorporates the tips I gave above right into its product. You can remotely lock, locate, wipe, and recover your device. With a premium subscription, they even guarantee recovery of your device, or they'll buy you a new one. The Absolute LoJack team will work with local law enforcement to get your property back, and protect the data while it is out of your hands. You can get 30% off Absolute LoJack Standard and Premium subscriptions through August 31st by using promo code UNCOVER30 during checkout. We want to thank Absolute LoJack for sponsoring Device Awareness Month here at Gear Live, and for providing us with an evaluation copy of its software.

What do you do to protect yourself from a possible smartphone or tablet theft? Do you err on the side of caution, or do you opt for convenience and just hope for the best? Take this quiz and find out how secure your phone is!

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