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Top 5 Android Apps to Protect your Privacy

written by: Michael Dougherty•edited by: Simon Hill•updated: 7/25/2010

Shiny new Android phone? Looking to protect your privacy while on the go? Look no further, I bring you the top 5 Android privacy apps.

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    Android Security Basics

    android market The Android Mobile OS (Operating System) by Google is based on the Linux kernel. The Android OS was built from the ground up by Google using the Linux kernel as a foundation so will tend to be just as secure, if not more secure, than most of the Linux distributions created for the PC.

    This is not to say there are not privacy concerns when using an Android enabled mobile device. Like any mobile device designed around the philosophy of being mobile and connected to the internet there are some very real privacy concerns for Android users. In the following sections we will explore what privacy issues you should be concerned about when using your Android enabled device and the programs that will help you use your Android with confidence.

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    Mobile Privacy Concerns

    With any mobile device used to exchange information over a wireless network you will want to make sure you have an application installed to protect your device from malicious content contained in files and programs. Another concern with a mobile device is people accessing your personal information while "looking at" or using your phone. Finally, perhaps the most important situation I can think of to have privacy apps securing your phone is in the case of a lost or stolen phone. In this day and age many of us use our smartphone as an information hub. We store photographs, contact lists, SMS messages and any number of other pieces of sensitive information on our phones. If all this centrally located personal information was to fall into the hands of a stranger the results could be catastrophic.

    In the next section we will look at the top 5 Android privacy apps for your Android enabled phone. All these Android privacy apps are available on the Android Market and have been tested enough that you can be confident in downloading them.

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    Top 5 Android Privacy Apps

    Without further ado, I bring you the top 5 privacy applications for the Android OS (in no particular order).

    droidHunter: A complete security service for Android with integrated anti-virus, intrusion detection, online managing service and incoming alerts. This app is similar to your traditional desktop security software except that it looks for Android specific threats. My Android phone scans as "Very Clean" but user reviews report the interception of suspicious apps as well as other Android security threats. This program comes in a free version as well as a paid version which can be used to locate or wipe a lost or stolen phone.

    App Protector: An application which allows you to lock your choice of applications on your Android phone. Set a password code or pattern and be prompted for it when trying to access protected applications. Useful if your phone is stolen or if you store information on your phone you'd rather not have accessed by people you let look at your Android phone. Protect as many or as few applications as you like and remove the password lock on applications at anytime. One thing to keep in mind is you will want to protect your uninstaller application(s) so a person can't simply uninstall this program to remove the password locks and then access your sensitive information. This program comes in a free time-limited trial (7 days) and will cost you $1.99 if you decide to continue to use it.

    PhotoVault: This Android application lets you password protect single photos or a directory of photos on your Android phone.

    VideoVault: Much like PhotoVault, VideoVault for Android lets you password protect any video footage you have on your phone.

    aFirewall / Android Firewall: aFirewall is the free version of Android Firewall which blocks incoming calls from numbers you specify. This application works fantastically and is a must-have for anyone who wants to block incoming calls from telemarketers, bill collectors or your run of the mill harassing calls. aFirewall is free to download and try and if you like the application it will only cost you $1.99 to upgrade to the fully functional Android Firewall.

    Have an Android privacy application you use on a regular basis to help protect your sensitive information while on the go? Let us know in the comments box below.