If you think about it, the smart phones we use today are more powerful and faster than the ones we had a couple of years ago and have come to depend on them for so much more than for making phone calls. Which for so many of us, is our connection to our Facebook friends, browsing the web and sending emails. When you con- sider how important they’ve become to us, we really should give some thought on how to keep them secure. Can Rooting or Jail Breaking a Smart Phone Be Bad? Now, for those of you who’s not familiar with the terms Rooting or Jail breaking, these two terms refer to a technique that some use to modify both the Android, (Root) and Iphone, (Jailbreak), smart phones that gives them administrative access to features of the phone that cannot be changed through the normal settings. And although there are many websites with clear directions and applications to do this, manufactures discourage doing this since there’s the risk of turning the phone into what’s refereed to as a brick or in other words, useless. And since this practice is frowned upon especially by Apple, any changes that you make to the iPhone, including Jail Breaking, will be removed and the phone will be reset back to it’s original factory settings whenever the OS is updated. In short, to avoid any potential problems that may or may not occur, do you really want to run the risk on such an expensive smart phone? Watch Your Downloads If you own an Android phone, there all sorts of apps you can download from Google Play. However, even though Google claims that all the apps in Google Play are free from malware, be forewarned. No matter what Google claims, there have been many instances where apps have been installed that may seem to harmless, but in actuality may have a more sinister purpose such as collecting personal information and send it to entities that target you with emails or notifications about products and services based on the information that was collected. In the end, your phone is now infected with malware that could be eating at you data plan without your knowledge. Apple on the other hand, screens all apps that people write and wish to sell, then after they’ve been cleared, they are then made available on the App Store which for Apple is a way to ensure no malware or any other type of app interferes with the operation of your iPhone. Antivirus Protection While the subject of whether to use Anti-malware apps on you smart phone is still debated, there are two schools of thought on this subject. Some security experts agree that as long as you haven’t modified your phone through Rooting your Android or Jail breaking you really haven’t much to worry about. However, while this may be true to a certain point, personally I’m more inclined to recommend installing a good security app simply because of several report- ed instances where both the Android and iPhone have been compromised by malware. So to provide some level of security, look into apps like Trendmicro Mobile Security which you can downloaded for both the Android and iPhone which will keep your phone safe and secure. Theft Protection Sometimes, no matter how careful we are, smart phones do get stolen. And while we may never get them back, here’s a few tips you can follow should your smart phone be stolen which will hopefully make it more difficult for the thief to use it for criminal activities: 1. Report the theft. 2. Use a strong screen lock. 3. Never leave your phone unattended in public. 4. Use a find my phone app. 5. Back up your photos and videos. 6. Record your phones unique ID number. 7. Change your important passwords. 8. Have your phone number disabled. [IDR’s Tech Columnist, Kenneth Herring, is an Independence native with years of experience in various technologies. He served in the technology industry for more than 27 years, having active experience as an IT instructor and computer systems engineer. Have a question for Ken about your computer? Email him at kenstechtalk@gmail.com.]