February 28, 2009 | by Andrew Kameka
30 Rock‘s Liz Lemon, played by nerd queen Tina Fey, mistakenly left her iPhone in a New York City Taxi Cab. Soon after, the cab driver called Liz’s contacts to relay threats about exposing an “adult photo” showing Lemon’s lemons if she didn’t pay a hefty sum. Android users would be wise to protect their phone data and not end up like Tina Fey’s hard luck character. Here are three tips to safeguard your Android phone and decrease the likelihood of exploitation.
1) Hide files with Astro
Johnny has some unsavory photos on his G1 that he would like to keep away from prying eyes. So does Maria, who took some private photos that she’d rather not have plastered over TMZ if she ever tried out for America Idol. What do Johnny and Maria do? Besides not having compromising material on their phone in the first place, they download Astro from the Android Market.
The Android Pictures app does not display images stored in folders titled with a dot in the beginning. Open Astro and create a folder named “.insertnamehere,” and then mount your phone or mini-SD card on a computer. Transfer private files into the new folder and they will no longer appear in the photo browser. Browsing through Astro or a similar file manager will become the only method of viewing those photos on an Android phone.
2) Set Unlock Pattern
The most obvious means to protect an Android phone is the “Set Unlock pattern” feature. Click “Settings > Security & Location > Set unlock pattern” to map a custom security pattern to keep others out. A patient person may be able to crack your code through trial and error, but this will at least decrease opportunities for friends or family members to mess around with your phone when you’re not looking. The only drawback to this feature is that if an honest person finds a lost phone and wants to give it back, they won’t have access to contacts who can help arrange a return.
3) Wait on BioWallet
Every boy who has ever watched a spy movie wanted their own retina scan machine. BioWallet will bring that iconic dream to the Android in the coming months. BioWallet uses biometric characteristics (eye scan or handwritten signature) to protect documents, conceal folders, store passwords, and even encrypt communications. Its creators promise “military grade security (AES 256 bits)” to protect your information. That’s data security worthy of James Bond, or at least that guy from Burn Notice.
BioWallet preview shots. Visit http://www.biowallet.net for more information