The recent development of tablet computers represents an innovation in portable computing technology that is only going to move upward in usage, popularity and technical advancement. Already, numerous brands such as the iPad, Samsung Galaxy, HP touchpad and Motorola Xoom are selling heavily and replacing laptops in many cases.
Tablet security is not that different from regular PC or laptop security. Since, in essence, a tablet is almost identical in many ways to these kinds of devices; you can keep it safe using a series of downloadable apps that are almost identical to their pc or laptop counterpart programs. If you want to keep your Android, Apple, Blackberry or whatever tablet as secure as possible, spyware free and completely in your control, follow a few of these basic steps.
Use Trusted Sources for Your Apps
This is the single most basic thing you can do to keep your tablet hack free. Before you even get various security apps and other programs, make sure you’re getting them from the right sources. Third party app websites and various file sharing sites can easily be havens for dangerous copies of useful apps, especially security apps that can do anything from filling your machine with spyware or corrupting and hijacking it completely.
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What is a good source? The official app stores of the major tablet and OS manufacturers are reliable. So are the original websites of known app manufacturers themselves. There are also a couple of good and reliable third party websites out there, but even with them be careful.
If your tablet is working on an Android system, then your safest source of apps for security or other things will be the Android Market. For Blackberry tablets, go to Blackberry App World and for Apple, everyone knows about the iTunes store. With clean, original apps as a starting point, you can now start protecting your tablet against attacks.
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Be Careful with App Permissions
Whenever you install an app of any kind on your tablet, it’s going to ask you for certain installation and running permissions that you will have to accept before it installs. Both good and malicious apps are going to be asking for these permissions, so keep a careful eye on what they’re requesting.
Of course, if you’re already sure that you’ve installed clean, original security or entertainment apps from trusted sources, you shouldn’t have any problem granting them the permissions they ask for, but keep an eye open and read the text anyhow. Sometimes even legitimate apps make requests for information sharing and other program functions that can make your tablet work more slowly or hand over information you’d prefer to keep private. Do a cost/benefit analysis of
privacy vs. app usefulness for all your apps after reading their permissions.
Download good Antivirus and Antimalware Apps
Another basic line of tablet protection is a reliable antivirus program. Some good options are Kaspersky Tablet Security and AVG Mobilation for tablets. Both of these offer services like tablet locking, location and private data protection services inside their apps. There are also other similar programs available on the market, some free and others at a cost.
Both the AVG and Kaspersky security apps cost a small amount and can be bought in various app stores or from the manufacturers’ websites themselves. Don’t let yourself be put off by the legitimate cost. Buy them and know they’re safe instead of downloading pirated copies that may be compromised. This same advice applies for any app, but particularly for an antivirus or antimalware program.
Another useful and open-source app that you might consider for your tablet is called Prey. You might have read about how a Canadian man recovered his stolen Macbook because of prey. This small but powerful piece of software comes packed with some very useful features that do nothing while the tablet is in your hands, but which can be remotely activated as soon as someone steals it. From there the Prey program can be sued to remotely control your tablet, lock it up completely, send alarms and messages and also trace its location.
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A few Additional Security Tips
If your tablet doesn’t have an access password, make sure you add one, and one that is at least 7 digits long. Ideal passwords include random streams of numbers and letters in both lowercase and capitals. This might be hard to remember, but if you have sensitive data on your device it’s vital. Also consider using a Virtual Private Network system for those situations when you’re using your machine on public Wi-Fi networks; Android OS tablets have their own built-in version already waiting to be activated. Hackers have all kinds of methods for getting at your tablet’s personal goodies if its internet connection is wide open.
As a last note, a good crash case is also a good idea, since a concrete floor can be just as bad as avirus attack when it comes to your fragile tablet.