30 July 2012

Tech crunching, mobile bugs, target shooting...

- Regardless of your geographic location or mobile phone brand, one thing is certain: you're inextricably affected by it all. There was a time when there were few participants and many spectators. Now, we are all participants. Every time you hit a phone key, big things happen. You can either save a life, or, you can unwittingly pass around a virus that could, and will mess things up pretty badly. This all means that the little things we do can impact our world and what's around us.

- When I was younger, working in a photo darkroom, seconds seemed really small. Then, with electrocardiographic recordings, I got into milliseconds. Then with computing resources, we marked nanoseconds. Now, even nanoseconds are an eternity. Hence, the paradox: The smaller we chop things into, the more time it takes to prepare a meal. The rush is inevitable. Or, is it our own doing? Again, it depends on where you live, and what you actually do.  Take the time to block out all the noise and think clearly.

- This takes us to the matter at hand: being more aware and taking more care, regardless of our favorite tech device. Not everybody can build a smartphone from scratch, but we can all practice what I call "tech hygiene." Always remember that there are tech germs and we've got to be careful of what we touch. To the point: take time to install the latest "anti-microbial" for your device. Android, iOS, Windows, and Sony are all different, but yet they're all the same in the sense that they are vulnerable. But let's not get paranoid now. There are a lot of tools for keeping your communications safer. And I say “safer”, not “invincible.” Even Windows bugs can hide in iOS ware.

- May I suggest then a few solutions. First, you can shop for the latest anti-virus available for your device. There's AvastFree MobileSecurity, AVG Mobilation AntiVirus Free, Lookout Mobile Security, just to name a few.  That's the obvious one. The second issue to tackle is data encryption for your messages. For iOS, there is Wickr, a "military grade” app intended for secure IM and multimedia sharing. It's touted to be "simple enough for a 3-year old." For Android there are, for example: Cryptext, Rhythm Crypt, and B-Secure Vault (also "military grade"). For password management and data vault functions, there's Keeper Security (for iOS), and Wallet Free (for Android). For Windows Phones,  kindly check out the Windows Mobile Marketplace. In the case of Sony, do hop over to the Sony Mobile Security website. Live Ware Manager (for Sony) allows you to connect devices safely. Some of these apps are free. And others are available for reasonable prices worth the investment.

- So, that wraps it up for smartphone security for now. Oh, yes, I did say target shooting. Cool off, turn on your TV and watch your favorite Olympic matches. You could bag a Gold:  yeah, in your dreams! As always, keep yourself, and your family safe.

- Fernando Yaakov  Lalana, M.D.

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