The Complete Guide To Protecting Your Smartphone

Let’s face it, who doesn’t want to be more organised? With so many things happening at once, it can be difficult to keep track of everything that’s going on. Thankfully, many developers know this and there are numerous apps out there designed to make organisation better, improve your workflow and do everything else in-between. We’ve picked out 50 of the best apps that will certainly help you improve your productivity, no matter where you are.

Social Media Apps

LinkedIn
For: iPhone, iPad, Android
Cost: Free
We couldn’t have a productivity list without mentioning the most famous app for professionals. Keep up to date with the latest news from your sector and with your connections wherever you are. It also helps that its perhaps one of the best designed social media apps out there.

Facebook Pages
For: iPhone, iPad, Android
Cost: Free
If you’re the admin of a business or brand page, this is essential if you want to keep up with the latest developments and updates relating to your page. Answer posts, measure post performance, access quick analytics and respond to private messages while you’re on the go.

Twitter
For: iPhone, iPad, Android
Cost: Free
Less for the social media purposes and more for finding new snippets of information, Twitter can be a treasure trove of information if you use it right. Come across a tweet you find interesting? Bookmark it by using the favorite function, see an article you want to read for later? Save it onto Instapaper and read it later.

Readers

Pulse
For: iPhone, iPad Android
Cost: Free
A beautifully designed news reader, Pulse brings together all your favourite news sources, blogs and social networks and presents them all in one neat and vibrant design.

Flipboard
For: iPhone, iPad Android
Cost: Free
The most popular news reader out there, Flipboard is also another elegant and visual news reader, feels more like you’re reading a digital magazine. The fact that you can link up Flipboard (and Pulse) to your social media accounts only increases its usefulness.

Amazon Kindle
For: iPhone, iPad Android
Cost: Free
Considering that the Kindle is a mobile reading device, it was pretty obvious that it would eventually make its way to smartphones and tablets. Not content with just giving you a way to read your ebooks, there are a number of different settings to play around with such as Sepia style, which lets your ebook look like a classic book.

Instapaper
For: iPhone, iPad Android
Cost: Free
Perfect if you come across articles or posts, but just don’t have time to read them, Instapaper lets you save articles you come across for future reading, allowing you to keep track of them until you find the time to read them later. Again, handy if they’re feature articles or important posts that you need to keep updated with

Zite
For: iPhone, iPad Android, WP7
Cost: Free
The self proclaimed “personalized magazine,” Zite (taken from the word ‘Zeitgeist’ meaning the defining spirit of our times) evaluates those stories floating around the web and picks the ones that best reflect your own personal interests. The more you use it, the more intelligent it gets, so that after a few days, it will perfectly reflect your reading habits.

Organisation

Remember The Milk
For: iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry
Cost: Free
The original organising app, Remember the Milk takes everything you need to do and presents it in a simple and straightforward interface. Not content with just being an app, you can sync it with Microsoft Outlook, Gmail, Siri and Twitter to name a few, making this the omnipresent to-do list.

TeuxDeux
For: iPhone
Cost: Free
A simplistic, but beautifully designed to-do list app, TeuxDeux doesn’t waste time complicating things. Instead, it presents a very clear list, calendar and lets you mark off any completed tasks.

Clear
For: iPhone
Cost: Free
Another simple to do-list app, but this time, the results are a lot more colourful. Keeps things simple and to the point, it’s probably the only to-do app that is controlled solely by gestures.

Cheddar
For: iPhone, iPad
Cost: Free
A brilliantly simple app that does exactly what expected of it. Instead of trying to pack it with numerous features, Cheddar just focuses on providing a straightforward experience that’s easy to pick up.

Astrid To Do List
For: iPhone, Android
Cost: Free
The personal assistant which will always remind you as to what you should be doing, Astrid links up to your browser account to help you keep track of everything you need to do through voice activation (which is more accurate than you’d think), notifications, lists and syncing accounts with friends to help you plan events better. A fun interface also helps make this app stand out from the others.

iDoneThis
For: iPhone
Cost: Free
Designed for teams to use, iDoneThis is best described as a to-do list for groups. Enter in tasks, mark off completed tasks in the evening and the next day, get an email digest showing you what everyone has achieved, and bask in the glory of completing day-to-day tasks.

Any.DO
For: Android
Cost: Free
Any.DO is much like a To-do list that is easily synced with all devices so you can gather all your tasks. You can mark tasks off as you go along and shake the screen to remove them once completed. It also responds to voice commands, so you can add and remove tasks by speaking as well.

Storage

Dropbox
For: iPhone, iPad, Android
Cost:Free
Cover anything even vaguely related to cloud storage and you’re required to mention Dropbox, and for very good reason too. With 2GB to play around with (and extra 500MB provided you complete a few tasks, sharing files and documents has never been easier

Google Drive
For: iPhone, iPad, Android
Cost: Free
A fast rising contender to DropBox, Google newest cloud storage app is planning on taking the limelight away from Dropbox. The two major advantages this has over Dropbox is that it gives you 5GB to start off with and it links up automatically to Google Docs so while it’s not near as popular as its competitor, it could catch up sooner than you think.

Box
For: Android
Cost: Free
Box is much like a mobile version of DropBox in that it allows you to share and view files across devices and between users. There is little lag, so you can view documents instantly and always have your files at your fingertips for when you need them.

EverNote
For: iPhone, iPad, Android
Cost: Free, $5 per month/$40 per year
The quintessential organiser app, Evernote lets you store anything anywhere – ideas, images, videos, notes – anything you need to be reminded about, you can save here. Its versatility and ability to take notes while on the move is what makes this app so popular.

Communication

Viber
For: iPhone, Android
Cost: Free
If you want to focus solely on making free calls, Viber uses your Wi-Fi/3G connection to make calls instead of having to rely on your service provider. Handy if you’ve free 3G data to play around with.

WhatsApp
For: iPhone, Android
Cost: Free, €0.79
The popular texting app works the same way as Viber, except you can share audio, videos, images, contacts and your location to flesh out your message. There’s also the scope for group texts too if you want to discuss topics on the move.

Voxer
For: iPhone, Android
Cost: Free
Acting like a walkie talkie app, Voxer lets you record voice messages that your friends and colleagues can later listen to and reply. You can also record yourself voice memos if you feel writing will take too long. Ending messages with “over” optional. 

Skype
For: iPhone, Android, WP7
Cost: Free
Hold calls and meetings wherever you go. Of course, the quality of Skype on your phone really depends on whether you’re connected to a Wi-Fi or not, but it’s certainly an app worth including.

Cloudtact
For: iPhone, Android
Cost: Free
A very handy app that instantly updates all your contacts whenever someone changes their contact info, ensuring that your address book is always up-to-date. You can also hook it up to your Mac address book and your Gmail account, making it more comprehensive than it first seems

Email & Organisation

Sparrow
For: iPhone
Cost: €2.39
Yes, it has been recently acquired by Google, but if you’re looking for a reliable email provider, Sparrow is still the best example out there for iPhone.

Gmail
For: iPhone, Android
Cost: Free
The popular email client for obvious reasons, it’s automatically available for Android users, but the Gmail app is worth a look for iOS, despite not being as versatile as Sparrow

Doodle
For: iPhone, iPad
Cost: Free
A scheduler which helps you find the perfect time to hold meetings among a group. Simply create a poll, invite the people you want involved and communicate with them as you decide upon the best times.

Due
For: iPhone, iPad
Cost: Free
A very handy reminder, alarm and timer app that hits a balance between minimalistic and stylish. One interesting feature is that it lets you schedule a task to occur every week, so if you have to meet up with a client every Tuesday at 1pm, Due will arrange that so you never forget.

Documents

Quickoffice Pro HD
For: iPhone, iPad, Android
Cost: Price differs between smartphone & tablet versions
Perhaps the most comprehensive Microsoft Office editing suite you will find for iPad. Alongside editing Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint, you can also access, manage and transfer files through Evernote, Google Docs, Dropbox, email and various social media sites as you sift through all your documents. A must have if you regularly use these products.

Google Docs
For: iPhone,iPad, Android
Cost: Free
Considering how much it’s been used worldwide, Google’s cloud sharing document creator was always going to be included. Great for sharing ideas with colleagues and friends, being able to see real-time updates as they happen is great when you’re hammering out ideas or compiling documents.

CloudOn
For: iPad, Android
Cost: Free
CloudOn rather handily allows you to use Microsoft Office programmes (Word, PowerPoint and Excel) on your iPad or Android mobile device and will allow you to sync such files with Box, DropBox or GoogleDocs. It functions as you are used to Office functioning on your desktop and is also equipped with Adobe Reader.

Picsel Smart Office 2
For: iPhone, iPad, Android
Cost: €8.99
Another handy office app. A bright and colourful interface with a versatile edit feature (including the ability to view documents in 3D) means that it’s a worthy alternative to Quick Office Pro.

Springpad
For: iPhone, iPad, Android
The useful app is better thought of as a personal assistant instead of a simple organiser (although it can be used as that), allowing users to discover new content through what they post. Its smart sorting means that it will add extra info whenever you post something. See a gadget you’re interested in, post it and Springpad will look up reviews, prices and gather additional info to help you make a more informed decision.

iA Writer
Available: iPhone, iPad
Cost: $1.99
The minimalist app is handy for when you need to drown out noise and unwanted distractions. There’s also Focus mode which lets the surrounding text fade into the background so you can just focus on the sentence at hand. Best results is to connect your iPad up to a bluetooth keyboard and work away.

Documents To Go
For: Android
A decent app which allows you to view any Microsoft office files on your Android device. Word, Excel and Powerpoint files can be viewed on the free version, but there is also a premium version, costing $14.99 at time of writing, which lets you edit files, download view and edit files from Google Docs and transfer files from smartphone to desktop. Not the most visually pleasing app, but it gets the job done

Finances

DashLane
For: iPhone
Cost: Free
Allowing you to make mobile payments faster and safer, Dashlane takes all your payment information and uses it to produce instant checkouts for whatever you’re purchasing online. A time-saver for those who regularly purchase online

Slice
For: iPhone, Android (Only in U.S.)
Cost: Free
Letting you keep track of what you purchase online, keeps your online receipts and places them all in your inbox, so you can organise your purchasing habits.

Scanning & Printing

CamScanner
For: iPhone, iTouch, iPad, Android
Cost: Free
CamScanner is a cloud-enable app that gives you smartphone’s camera the ability to scan. If you take a picture of a document or chart etc., CamScanner will quickly and efficiently crop the image and save it in .pdf form, ready to be sent and shared worldwide.

Cloud Print
For: Android
Cost: Free
Success using Google’s CloudPrint is reliant on having a CloudPrint-ready printer at your disposal, but the app ostensibly allows your to print documents from your phone, and it will be able to handle everything from JPEGs to PowerPoint presentations. Simple to use and easy to sync with DropBox.

Reminders & Shortcuts

SwipePad
For: Android
Cost: Free
Multitasking is a commonality of smartphone usage, and SwipePad aims to make it effortless. With SwipePad, you can configure a menu of shortcuts to your favourite apps with a quick swipe of the screen, and you can fill it with all your favourite apps, so they are easily available at any time.

My Work Clock
For: Android
Cost: Free
If you have a problem with organisation or are having trouble juggling multiple tasks, the MyWorkClock app may be the app for you. The Android time-keeping app will monitor when you punch in/out, overtime and remind you of deadlines and jobs that aren’t finished yet.

1Password
For: iPhone, iPad, Android
Cost: Free
Many of us haphazardly use the same password for all our internet sign-ins, which leaves us at risk, but is much easier than having to remember multiple strong passwords. 1Passwordformulates strong passwords for everything, stores them in your web browser, helps you remember them and is easily synced across mobile devices, so all you need to do is remember the master password.

Miscellaneous

Vlingo Virtual Assistant
For: Android, Blackberry
Cost: Free
Vlingo is Android-compatible answer to Siri, allowing you to control your phone and execute tasks with your voice rather than with your thumbs, though there are supplementary handheld controls. With Vlingo, youcan send texts and emails, voice dial, search the web and get directions among other things, so it’s just as effective as its iPhone counterpart.

AirDisplay
For: iPhone, iPad, Android
Cost: $9.99/£5.99
AirDisplay turns your mobile device into an external display for desktop, Mac or Windows. It is not really effective enough to move videos between your desktop and mobile, but it is perfectly adequate for moving photos, iTunes, documents browsing windows and conversations between the two completely wirelessly.

Robin
For: Android
Cost: Free
Currently in beta mode but already capable of many things, Robin is a personal assistant for when you’re driving. With gesture activation, you can ask Robin to update you about anything you can think of. It’s very similar to Siri, but Robin is more versatile and a good alternative to Google Now.

iTranslate
For:iPhone
Cost: Free, ($1.99 or €1.59 for plus version)
With over 50 languages covered (20 of which have spoken translations), iTranslate is incredibly handy for when you’re abroad, communicating with those from different nationalities or just trying to learn a new language. The free version also offers a number of in-app purchases if you want to upgrade.

DocuSign Ink
For: iPhone, iPad, Android,
Cost: Free
DocuSign enables professionals to securely send documents between companies for signing, but it alternatively can be used to collect data or payment; it’s an efficient way of conducting important business with electronic signatures and cloud computing. It’s all legally-binding and simple to use, a great innovation.

Tripit
For: iPhone, iPad, Android
Cost:Free
Tripit is a travel itinerary app available to Apple and Android devices; it takes care of all the notoriously problematic parts of organising a trip away and handles things like directions, reservations, tickets and rentals once you have forwarded them to the app. It recognises upwards of 3,000 different travel-related companies and should see that you no longer have to frantically rush to the airport because you lost your booking reference.

Friday: The Personal Assistant
For: Android
Cost: FreeThe Dexetra-designed Friday: The Personal Assistant keeps a record of everything you do one your Android phone, from phone calls and texts to photos taken and social media posts, so as to create an easily-searched database of all your activity for when you need it.

Other Devices
There are generally a bunch of different services that do the same thing for every different platform and some that work across all devices. Have a quick search online for something relevant to your own phone, but as you can see from this video it can be as easy as sending a text message as soon as you notice that your phone is lost or stolen.

Protecting Your Web Browsing

Chrome
Chrome’s in-built security measure are reassuringly good as well as astute; the Google browser will redirect you to a warning message before it would allow you onto sites suspected of containing malware or phishing.

These settings are default ,but can be disabled on the wrench menu, and they are further supplemented by ‘sandboxing’ and Google’s regular auto-updates. With the ability to force the SSL, users can only view websites with the https:// prefix if they choose to further increase their phishing protection, which is especially important on sites where personal and banking details are exchanged.

Incognito represents Google’s stealth browser, if you want to keep your history and downloads from being recorded, or are just wary of public Wi-Fi connections, there is a helpful clear data feature for when you want to rid yourself of cookies and any information that Chrome may have collected.

Unlike other major browsers mentioned blow, however, one cannot set Chrome to ‘Do Not Track’ and prevent advertisers from gathering data for targeted ads, although Google want to incorporate such a feature by the end of this year.

Google has separated the browser into components – the browser, renderer and plug-ins – to ensure that Chrome crashes as little as possible and that one of the three crashing will not crash Chrome altogether, and is the pre-eminent web browser with regard to security. Google will continue to bolster Chrome’s security, but its excellence and structural innovation practically negates the need for any additional security plugins.

Firefox
Mozilla Firefox is trusted for its reliability and ease of use, but it is not secure as its main competitor, Chrome. However, Mozilla offer several add-ons to embolden Firefox’s security features. With over 13 million downloads, Adblock plus and Adblock Plus Pop-up Add-on make up Firefox’s first line of defence against pop-up advertising and ad windows. No Script is also renowned for its effectiveness; it will only allow plugins such as Java and Flash to run if hosted on a trusted site for fear of click-jacking attacks.

Better Privacy, meanwhile, will protect Firefox from super-cookies, i.e. cookies that cannot be deleted, though it does not work retroactively, of course. Web of Trust accomplishes much the same thing and will warn you before entering any untrustworthy site intent on scamming you or using your details for ill, while Stealther is the Incognito of stealth add-ons and will disable browser history, history, cookies, disc catche, auto-fill forms among many other things.

It is vigilant (perhaps overly so) in maintaining your web browser security while using Firefox. All of these add-ons are easily available through Firefox’s own add-on page and are heartily recommended by Mozilla anyway. Ultimately, Firefox isn’t as security-focused as Chrome, but it is intent on offering users the best supplementary security products available to them even though they cannot build them in like Google have and are produced by independent engineers.

Internet Explorer
Internet Explorer (IE) is hamstrung by its dependence on ActiveX technology, which is becoming increasing outdated and obsolete, much like IE itself. You can turn ActiveX, though this will prevent you from using sites that rely on ActiveX, of which there are surely some.

Recent editions of IE have allowed users to decide if they want such apps to be enacted at all times or only for certain sites via the SiteLock ATL app, so you can toggle ActiveX on and off as and when it is needed.

IE 9′s SmartScreen Filter is the primary built-in defence against phishing and malware and the introduction of the Tracking List to IE’s latest edition sees that Microsoft has a renewed focus on protecting users from malicious third parties. IE is still the only browser to offer help via email and telephone, but its widespread use makes it more susceptible to security threats and malware.

As IE is still the default browser for company networks, IE Controller is the most useful security app available. Controller allows you to prevent ads, monitor access and log traffic data as well as control ActiveX controls, the execution of scripts and programmes, and requests to restrict and control files. Just to be awkward, however, it is only downloadable as a .zip file.

Safari
For a youth-orientated browser, Safari’s security apps naturally have a social media focus. Apple offer disconnects for Facebook, Twitter and Google+, allowing you to browse the internet without fear of details exchanged with social networking titans being taken by third parties.

The Facebook app is far more comprehensive and offers protection on over a million sites, while the Twitter and Google+ editions will give you a warning before stepping into dodgy territory. Twitter Disconnect only protects on 20% of sites carrying the Twitter widget and the Google app covers a mere 25%. While disconnects aim to protect the user, Ghostery provides the user with intelligence, helping them detect third-party activity and control their interactions with large companies, with regard to scripts and images.

TrafficLight aims to slow you down as little as possible while still extensively bolstering your browser security by partly functioning as part of a cloud network. It will perform a number of checks on various pages and ensures your anti-malware protection is up to scratch.

CookieStumbler is Safari’s main cookie defence and works easily enough. Once downloaded, it will ensure you are not susceptible to cookies; it is unobtrusive and exceedingly simple to use. Much like with Firefox, all of these apps are available on the Safari App store and easy to download right away.

Password Tips

Considering it’s the most basic part of online security, you should put a little bit of thought into using different passwords. Considering the number of different passwords we use, it can be difficult, but while there are password managers apps out there to help you out (found further below), some of you may only need passwords for two or three sites. If that’s the case, keep these rules in mind when you’re thinking up some new passwords.

Avoid repetition
An obvious suggestion, but whatever you do, don’t use the same password for every site you’re signed up to. If someone does manage to hack your account, you can be pretty sure that the rest of them will fall like a house of cards. Make sure they’re different enough to

Mix it up
When creating your passwords, make sure you’re placing different symbols into it so that they’re harder to crack. Looking at the chart below, you can see how much symbols, numbers and even uppercase letters can improve your password security.

Change it regularly
It’s normally good practise to change your settings so that you don’t fall victim to any hacking attempts. A good rule is to change your password every two to three months to keep protection up.

Add complex passwords for your smartphone
For iOS, you can give your phone a complex password (one that isn’t four numbers) and use that to strengthen your phone security. Just go into settings, general and then password lock. You will see simple passcode in the centre so disable that to enter a more comprehensive password.

Android phones also have a nine point unlock system which lets you create 389,112 possible combinations so you should be relatively safe through that.

Log off
Another obvious one, but if you leave yourself logged into your profiles and someone else gains access to your computer, then you’ve only yourself to blame. Always log out when you’re finished to ensure this doesn’t happen.

Password Management Apps

Sometimes just having the basics isn’t enough. More often than not, you will need something that will help you keep on top of all the different passwords and accounts that you have active. Here are a quick selection to choose from.

1Password
Cost: Free(30 days); $49.99
Platform: Mac, Windows, iPhone/iPad, Android

One of the more popular password apps out there, 1Password helps create strong, unique passwords for you, helps you remember them and then stores them in your Web browser, ensuring secure protection as all you need to remember is your own master password. It also uses the cloud to keep 1Password in sync with all your computers and mobile devices. Handy to say the least.

LastPass
Cost: Free (Limited Features) $12 a year
Platform: All desktop and mobile platforms

Another popular password management app. Lasspass is similar to 1Password in that it saves and syncs all your passwords with different devices and browsers. Packed with a whole range of features and the Freeware version means that it’s well worth a try if you’re looking for an alternative

KeePass
Cost: Free
Platform: All desktop browsers

KeePass is an open-source program which for a free app, offers a lot of features. Offering multiple user keys, password groups and database transfer among other things, it certainly punches well above its weight.

Clipperz
Cost: Free
Platform: All desktop browsers

Another free app, except this time Clipperz lets you download a read-only copy of the application and your password data. Storing it as an encrypted HTML document, you can access your account online and access your passwords through your master password.

Guides & Sources

– Jeremiah Grossman of WhiteHat Security offers plenty of tips about how you can make sure you don’t get hacked on the Web.
– Salon gives advice as to what you should do when your Twitter account is hacked.
– When LinkedIn was going through its hacking problem earlier this year, CNET provided a guide to updating your online security.
– Computer World gives advice as to how you can keep your Android smartphone safe and five apps designed to do this.
– PC World compile a handy list of security apps worth getting for Android and iPhone.

Infographic Sources

http://nextround.net/2011/02/how-long-does-it-take-for-hackers-to-crack-your-password
http://usanewsbrief.com/2012/02/three-stats-about-hacking-that-may-surprise-you/
http://www.kindsight.net/sites/default/files/Kindsight_Security_Labs-Q112_Malware_Report-final.pdf
http://www.f-secure.com/weblog/archives/MobileThreatReport_Q2_2012.pdf
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/17/android-malware-epidemic-infographic_n_1099220.html

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: