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Be Careful When You Tap That App

by F. Andrew Taylor

In the tradeshow industry, you’re often surrounded by thousands of strangers, or frequently downloading a new app to interact with a convention center or a new piece of technology. This exposes you and your phone to a lot of security risks, so make sure your device is wearing protection.

Even if you aren’t downloading the latest app, your phone or other devices could be at risk due to the increasing use of NFC, near field communications technology. NFC is short-range wireless connectivity to exchange digital content, connect electronic devices and allow transactions by touching or bumping your phone against an NFC enabled device.

The technology is growing and the possibilities for applications are seemingly endless. Among the products introduced at this year’s CES were the YesItIs Tag Sensor which records environmental data such as temperature and humidity levels and allows you to access the data by tapping it with a smartphone; Sony’s Truly Wireless Bluetooth Headphones, which can be paired to a smartphone with a tap and L’Oréal’s UV Sense, a UV sensitive patch that users attach to their thumbnail and is accessed by, you guessed it, tapping it with a smartphone. The patch lets the wearer know if they’ve had too much sun.

That same technology, as exciting as it is, also can expose your phone to pickpockets and thieves—if they can get their smartphones within a few centimeters of yours to mine data or inflict viruses.

Here are a few apps that might help protect you. Unless otherwise noted, all are available for Android and iOS.

Trend Micro Mobile Security and Antivirus

One of the more robust apps available, Trend Micro has a near perfect malware detection record. The free version also includes battery saving tools, a social media privacy scanner and more. It also offer Just-a-Phone mode, which shuts down all apps except the phone. You can try out the paid features for free for seven days. Those include Messenger Protector, Parental Controls, Call Blocking and more for $40 annually.

Avast Mobile Security

Another strong app with near perfect malware detection, it not only provides antivirus protection, but it also keeps track of what your apps are doing. Call blocking is included in the free version along with an app locker and Wi-Fi scanning options. Among the things offered by the $8/year pro version is ad removal.


Near perfect malware detection combined with some powerful theft protections tools make this one of the most popular security apps. If your smartphone is lost or stolen you can visit the company’s anti-theft website to track and locate it on Google Maps. You can also remotely lock it, blast an alarm at full volume and if, after all that, you still can’t find it, you can remotely wipe it to protect your information. For $15/year the pro version includes several other useful features, including Device Lock, which locks the phone if someone replaces the SIM card and Camera Trap, which takes a picture of anyone trying to unlock your phone.


This app keeps a virtual eye out for suspicious activity and alerts you to data breaches and offers solutions to the issues. The free version includes things like Signal Flare, which automatically saves your device’s last known location when your battery gets low, improving your chances of finding it and Scream, which maps the location of your phone from any device with an internet browser and sounds a loud alarm, even if your phone is on silent.

The $3/month premium version includes safe Wi-Fi, Breach Report and Theft Alert, which sends an email with a picture and the location of the device when there is activity that might mean the phone has been stolen.

Kaspersky Lab

This app has a 99.9 percent Malware detection record along with Call Blocker, Message Filter and Safe Browsing. It also includes anti-theft features that allow you to remotely find, lock or wipe your device. It’s free for Android but iOS users will have to purchase Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac for $20 per year.

Avira Antivirus

This free app handles malware detection, and helps you locate, protect and recover your phone. It also includes the ability to trigger a loud alert to find it if you think you’re close to it or send a message to alert someone who has found your phone to let them know how to contact you. If you can’t get it back, you can remotely wipe it. The $12 annual pro version includes secure banking tools and hourly anti-virus updates to stop new viruses as soon as they hit the net.

Andrew Taylor is an award-winning journalist, artist, photographer, cartoonist and illustrator. He also works in film production, does local historical research and has been an amateur stunt driver and rodeo participant. Contact him at fandrewt@exhibitcitynews.com.

This story originally appeared in the July/August issue of Exhibit City News, p. 16. For more pictures and original layout, visit http://issuu.com/exhibitcitynews/docs/ecnflipbook_julyaugust2018_web?e=16962537/62860459


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