Mobile Security With Trend Micro

As a family in the Digital Joneses campaign for Trend Micro we have a challenge to complete every month. This month’s challenge was focused on mobile security and staying safe while on the go. To complete the challenge we received smartphones and were told that we should try doing everything we need to do online using only a phone. Working from home I am online 70-80 hours a week so I knew that doing all my work from a phone was not realistic but I aimed to do as much as possible on it as I could.

The first thing I did after I set up my phone was to install some of Trend Micro’s android applications. The first was their free Android security app called “Trend Micro Mobile Security Personal Ed”. This application will protect my phone from loss, malicious apps, and dangerous website. It includes an app scanner that will scan every application that I install to make sure it’s safe. It also includes a trial of some of their premium features including safe surfing, parental controls, call and text blocking, a way to find your loss phone using google maps, an alarm if your phone is lost and you are looking for it, and a way to lock and wipe the device if you lose it and you can’t find it. All of these extra features sounded great. I especially loved all of the features it offered for lost phones since that is one of the worst things that could happen to my phone.

The next app that I added was their Longetivity app to extend my phone’s battery life. It never fails that my phone dies within a few hours of me leaving my house, especially if I use it as a GPS to get to my location. I liked that this app was easy to use. The “Just-a-phone” mode can be used when the battery is low so that the phone can still be used for calls and texts. You can also see which apps are taking the most battery power which is helpful when you want to preserve your battery life.

The final application I added was their Backup and Restore app. This free app makes a secure copy of my contacts, messages, photos and videos and lets me restore them to any Android device I’d like to. We could have really used this feature in the past when one of Sinisa’s phones got broken. All the pictures that were on it from when our children were little were lost. Those images are something we can never get back.

Once I got the applications loaded I got started on my challenge. The first thing I did was check the longetivity application to see how much battery power my phone had. It showed 13 hours and if I used the “just-a-phone” mode I would have 15 hours of battery time. I kept this in mind so I could use this feature when I wasn’t using the internet or applications.

Trend Micro had challenged us to use our smartphones and try doing at least four items on a list of tasks. The first task of the challenge I wanted to complete was downloading a Pinterest app and creating a Pinterest board but when I went to the Android store on my phone and searched “Pinterest” there were 318 apps that came up. Looking through the list I didn’t see one that looked like it was from Pinterest so I moved on to another task. I figured I should probably check my emails so I setup my email account and was happy to find that I had no problem doing so. My last Android phone never let me setup the email feature with my hotmail address. Once I started checking the emails I found that I had to click on the message header and then wait for the message to download. After a few minutes of the message trying to download I gave up and moved onto a different task. The next task I tried was streaming videos on YouTube. I searched for videos on blogging and watched a few videos, including one by Darren Rowse on family/blogging balance. I loved how clear the picture was on this new phone. I then watched a live lip dub marriage proposal which had me cracking up. The last task that I did was downloaded a picture to Facebook.

This month’s challenge was fun. The majority of what I do on my phone is check my emails and Facebook so it was nice to do some other things that I normally don’t take time to do, like watch videos on YouTube. I am happy that I have some great Trend Micro applications to help me stay safe while I use my phone for work and entertainment. We received two phones so we decided we would give Jacob {our 3, soon to be 4 year old} one for his birthday so that he can watch videos, play games and take pictures instead of using mommy or daddy’s phones. With the ability to setup parental controls on his phone in addition to us sitting with him we feel that he will be safe while exploring the internet using this new technology.

Here are some additional safety tips from Trend Micro to keep in mind:

1) Enable your password on your mobile device. Make sure it is not an easy password that others can guess.

2) If you ever experience your mobile device turning off and on unexpectedly, or sending unauthorized messages to your contacts, you should know it is infected with a virus.

3) Trust the source, not the application. Make it a habit to download applications only from trusted sources.

4) Update your phone as soon as your phone alerts you that there is a new update.

4) Pay attention when installing applications. If an app asks for access to irrelevant data (like a game asks for access to your phone book) immediately stop installation and recheck the source.

5) Beware when using public wi-fi. Avoid accessing sensitive personal data while using it.

(Disclosure: As part of the Digital Joneses campaign I have received software and technology products from Trend Micro. All thoughts are my own.)

Tips For Buying A New Smartphone

Last week I went to a fun blogging event at T-Mobile put on by one of my fabulous tech blogger friends, Kris. T-Mobile shared some Holiday shopping tips with us and I wanted to share them with you because they are good tips for buying a phone from any carrier, not just T-Mobile.

1) Think about what you will use the phone for. Don’t just get a phone because it’s “the best”, get a phone because it fits your lifestyle and your needs.

2) Figure out how much data you will need. The T-Mobile associates shared that most people do not need to purchase the largest data package because they don’t use all that data. T-Mobile has a nifty calculator on their site to check out which package you would need from them.

3) If you make calls outside the country consider getting a prepaid plan to control your costs.

4) Check to see if there is strong coverage at places you will be using the phone the most. This is important. What good is a phone if you can’t use it where you live, work, or spend a majority of your time? I used to get horrible phone service in my own home and would have to sit in a spot that was “just right” to talk on my phone. It was such a pain.

5) Don’t forget the accessories. Sinisa got a Bluetooth headset as an early Christmas gift and he LOVES it!

6) Understand return policies.

T-MOBILE’S APPLICATIONS FOR FAMILIES:

I am not a T-Mobile customer but if I had a child who was old enough for a smartphone I would probably switch because T-Mobile has some awesome safety and control applications that parents can get:

-DriveSmart Plus- Distracted driving is dangerous, especially with new drivers. DriveSmart manages distractions by silencing incoming notifications, sending callers to voicemail and auto responding to incoming text messages. With DriveSmart Plus, you get automatic driving detection, parental controls and notification of cell phone activity while driving, providing additional peace of mind.

FamilyWhere– If you’ve ever wondered where your kids are, this feature is for you. It allows parents to track the location of any phone on their family plan. You can even scheduleĀ  alerts as a reminder to check where your kids are during the day and view upĀ  to 7 days of location history.

-You can also block calls during certain times (like during the school day and after “lights out”) and you can block certain numbers if you don’t want them calling your child.

T-Mobile's myTouch

We got to try out the myTouch phones by T-Mobile at the event. They are pretty cool. I liked that they are so lightweight! My phone feels like a brick compared to this one. {Oh…and I WON one of these in a raffle! yippeee!}

(Disclosure: I attended this event and won a phone but all thoughts are my own.)