Get All Round Security For Your Android Phone with Avast

Security is one area where no compromises should be made, be it for a personal computer or a mobile phone. Android developers too, have understood this very well which is why there are a lot of security applications available in the android market (now, Google Play). Among all the alternatives available, I found Avast Mobile Security to be an excellent (and free) security suite that outperforms many of its paid counterparts.

With features such as virus scanner, privacy advisor, application management, web shield, sms and call filter, firewall and anti theft, one can be completely at peace after installing it on one’s android device. Let us discuss the features in detail.

Virus Scanner

The most basic feature of any security application, this can be used to scan the installed apps and the memory card. Users can even schedule automatic scans on their desired day and time.

Privacy Advisor

Android users often complain that installing applications can result in compromising your private information on the phone. Avast privacy advisor shows you all the potential privacy issues along with the list of applications causing it. Examples include applications that can track your location or access your messages, contacts etc.

Application Management

This is a very simple yet handy tool that shows you all your installed applications and the currently running applications. The list can be sorted according to name, size, memory or CPU usage.

Web Shield

Accessing the web from your device exposes you to a host of threats such as phishing scams. Avast web shield automatically integrates with your default web browser and warns you whenever it detects a potential threat.

SMS and Call Filter

If you’re tired of all the marketing calls and SMS’s on your phone, the SMS and Call filter will prove to be a blessing. Create customized groups and then opt to block incoming or outgoing calls and sms’s at your desired days and time. Simple, yet effective.

Firewall

The Avast Firewall works only on rooted android devices and can be used to block all or selected applications from accessing your WIFI , 3G or data network.

Anti Theft

If the thought of losing your android phone gives you nightmares, then the anti theft feature alone will make you fall in love with the avast security app. To begin with, the anti-theft application can be both renamed and hidden so that any unwanted user does not know of its presence on the phone.

The application also gives you remote control over your phone via SMS commands. Every SMS command begins with your set password and this message is never displayed on your phone. With SMS commands, you can lock your phone, turn on a siren, locate the phone, make calls and SMS’s and much more. In case of a SIM change, the new phone number, along with the phone’s location, is sent to the pre defined numbers on your phone.

Some advanced options, such as to prevent USB access to the phone, forcing the data connection to remain active, and the ability to install or uninstall apps are also present but they require the phone to be rooted.

Conclusion

Avast! Mobile Security, without a doubt, performs exceptionally well and is certainly a must have application for any android phone. Moreover, it also defies the general convention of paid apps always being better than free ones.

Download Avast Mobile Security for free from Google Play.

Mac: How To Encrypt An External Hard Drive In Lion

Most computer users use or carry around some kind of portable hard drive or flash disk these days. Considering how we use our computers, almost all of those portable drives tend to store an alarming amount of sensitive data. Have you ever thought what would happen if you lose the disk and the data gets into the wrong hands ?

There are a lot of software solutions available that’ll let you encrypt the data on your disks but most of them are confusing to use and just a pain really. Not, if you’re a Mac OS X user.

Mac OS X lets you encrypt and password protect the contents of any connected disk. Follow our little guide to know how.

First of all, if it wasn’t obvious, connect your disk (using USB) to your Mac and launch the Disk Utility application.

The Disk Utility application will display all the drives that OS X has recognized on your computer in the sidebar. Select the drive that you want to encrypt.

Note: To Encrypt a drive, OS X has to format it and so you will lose all the existing data on the drive. If there is any important data on the drive, copy it to another location and then copy it back later.

Now, select the Erase tab and from the Format drop down list select “Mac OS Extended (Journaled, Encrypted).

You can also select the Case-Sensitive, Journaled, Encrypted option if you want your file system to be case sensitive.

Now, click the Erase button.

Disk Utility will now ask you to enter a password that you will use to access the contents of the encrypted disk. If you can’t think of a strong and memorable password yourself, I’d definitely suggest using the Password Assistant. Click on the little key icon next to the password text box and play around with the password assistant till you find a nice password that you can remember and one that is secure.

That’s it. Now, wait for Disk Utility to finish partitioning and encrypting the disk.

When the disk is ready for use, as indicated by Disk Utility, I’d suggest that you eject it and insert it again just to check if everything works as it should. If you followed the procedure properly, Mac OS X will ask you for a password to access your disk when you insert it again.

That’s it. Enter your password and you should be able to access the contents of your disk as always. When you’re finished using the disk, make sure you eject it properly so that no one else with access to your computer can access your data.

The only problem with this method of encrypting your external hard disks is that the data on the disk can only be viewed on a Mac OS X computer. Depending on your preferences, though, that may well be a good thing!

 

How To Make Your Google Account More Secure

Have you ever pondered upon the consequences of losing your Google login information to a malicious hacker on the Internet? However frightful the thought may be, the truth cannot be denied that users often lose their usernames and passwords and this generally occurs because of users accessing their account from public computers which are flooded with viruses, Trojans, Keyloggers etc.

Google’s 2 Step Verification method adds an extra layer of security to your Google account and keeps it secure even when you lose your login credentials. Whenever you try to access your account from an unauthorized device, Google will send you a code via a text or voice message. This code needs to be entered in order to successfully log into your Google account. This way, even if someone steals your username and password, they cannot access your account until they get hold your phone.

2 Step verification can be enabled for all Google services such as Gmail, Youtube, Blogger etc. To set up your additional layer of security go to your Google settings page and click on the edit link next to the 2 Step Verification text.

The next step will be to set up your mobile or landline phone number where you want to receive the code. Once you do that, verify your phone by entering the code that Google will send to your phone.

You will then be asked if you want to make the computer a trusted one. Trusted computers are those which require the Google verification code only once every 30 days. This prevents the annoyance of having to enter the code every time you log into your account from your own PC.

Do not make a public computer a trusted one as it will defy the whole purpose of setting up 2 step verification. However, if you have multiple computers, you can add all of them to the trusted list of computers from your Google account settings.

The last step requires your final confirmation and just a click on the ‘Turn On 2 Step Verification’ button.

Accessing your account after enabling 2 step verification does not change for trusted computers. However, if you try to login on an unrecognized device, a code will be sent to your phone immediately which needs to be entered for a successful login.


Since the 2 step verification method heavily relies on your phone for sending code, there can be problems in situations when you do not have your phone or there is no cell coverage. To counter this problem you can go to your Google account page and either add a backup phone number for your account or download an application (only for Android, iPhone or Blackberry) to generate the code. As a last resort, you can also keep a hard copy of upto 10 verification codes, each of which can be used only once.

To sum up, Google’s 2 step verification method is indeed an effective way to enhance the security of one’s account and strongly recommended for anyone who accesses his account from public computers.

Mac: How To Create An Encrypted Disk To Securely Store Your Data

Disk UtilityApple likes to claim that Mac OS X is one of the most secure operating systems available.

While it may be true that a default install of OS X, is usually more secure than a similar default install of a consumer Linux distribution, it is also true that the average Mac OS X user is far less computer savvy than an average Linux user. A default OS X install has almost no open network ports and even secure encrypted services such as ssh have to be started manually for the first time after installation. This, in my opinion, does make OS X a much safer bet for a home user than, say, Windows or even Linux.

But, if you’re still paranoid about securing your data and would like to store all your data encrypted on your computer, OS X has ways to do that also. OS X lets you create an encrypted volume on your computer that you can use to store your data. Access to this volume is through a password and without the password all an attacker would get access to is encrypted junk.

Disk Utility

To create an encrypted disk image, launch the Disk Utility application that is bundled with OS X and click on the New Image button. Make sure that you don’t select any volume from the sidebar when you click the New Image button as that will tell Disk Utility to create a copy of that volume instead.

Disk Utility

Select a name and size for your new disk and from the Encryption drop down select an encryption scheme. Apple offers two encryption schemes, 128-bit AES and 256-bit AES. Choose the one that suits you. Select Read/Write Image from the image format drop down and click on the Create button.

Disk Utility will then prompt you to enter a password. You can even use a password assistant that can help you create a reasonably strong password. Store the password in your keychain, if it’s too hard to remember it.

That’s it !

Disk Utility will now create a disk image and once it’s done, it’ll be mounted for you to use it for the first time. Copy your data to this Volume and unmount it to keep it away from prying eyes. The next time you double click on the disk image, OS X will ask for a password to open it for you.