As part of my article on Virtual Security while traveling (or just online at your local coffee shop) we talk about apps to protect your gear, one of which is Lookout. Lookout is a mobile security app which goes beyond the normal scanning of newly added applications, making it an obligatory part of your base applications.
Why do I need virus scanning? A quick refresher
First – think about how much personal information is on your phone: Contact lists, downloads, photos, personal emails, apps that connect to your bank accounts, etc. Now think about the permission list on the last app you downloaded. Many apps require access (permissions) to the personal information on your phone, and not all apps are created equal. While the developer may be negligent rather than malicious – apps can still be the backdoor for a thief to get into your device and obtain your personal information.
What to do?
As a preventative measure, I do not install apps that require access to more than they should, especially if that app is not from a trusted developer. For example, I will allow more permissions if the app was developed by my bank, than a random developer. Another example: if a QR scanning app wants access to more than just my camera, I will skip it and look until I find another QR app.
Why I use it:
The main reason I began using this a few years ago was the anti-virus protection (to include scanning any new apps installed on the device). As Lookout rolled out new features, I began using less additional security apps and relying more on Lookout to protect my devices.
My favorite security feature:
The lockout: The phone will not only lock the phone after a specific number of unsuccessful log-in attempts but also send you an email letting you know that someone is trying to break into your phone.
Seriously cool and useful features:
Signal flare: Ever lose your phone and have someone else call it to find it? What happens if the battery runs out first? Signal flare sends out the last known location just before the battery dies to give you the best chance of finding your phone.
Apple Watch features: If you are protecting your tech, did you include your watch? Lookout will locate your watch using your iPhone. On top of that, Lookout adds many of the security features of its mobile app to the watch (a good thing, since some models of the watch are more expensive than the phones).
Breach Report: Alerts when a company, app, or service you may use suffers a data breach that could impact personal security, privacy, and financial resources. Not only are you alerted when it happens, they tell you how to go about fixing it.
Identity Protection: Lookout takes their app to the next level by helping detect identity theft through monitoring personal and financial information online.
Installation: Could not be easier – Find it on Google Play or the App Store. Installation and configuration take five minutes.
The whole menu:
Secures device and scans all installed apps.
Last November I dropped the phone. The crack that spread diagonally across the screen prevented opening up the phone; not even the tech department at MicroCenter could get the data or photos off of it. When I installed and logged into Lookout on my new phone, Lookout had restored my contacts and memories. Nice!
- Scream: Better than having someone else calling, your phone will engage a siren – even if on silent.
- Locate: Log in to my.lookout.com and locate your lost device on a map.
- Signal Flare (discussed above)
- Lock (Premium feature): Lock the device remotely, option to create an “If lost, please return to” message to help whoever finds it return it to you without leaving your device open.
- Wipe (Premium feature): Clears all text messages, photos, contacts, logins and other data from your lost phone. I call this the ‘Nuclear Option.’
Theft alerts (Premium features)
- Missing SIM cards: Alerts go out if the SIM card is removed (Typically when the phone is being resold)
- Incorrect password: Alert sent out if the wrong password is entered three times in a row.
- Airplane mode enabled: Again, owner is alerted if phone is switched to airplane mode in an attempt to hide its location.
- Device turned off: Similar to airplane mode, alert is sent if thief switched device off.
- Device admin disabled: Alert sent out if Lookout device admin is disabled.
Scans every site you visit in real time to protect from phishing and online threats.
Privacy Advisor (Premium feature)
A quick look at all the apps which can access your data and which details they can access (location, texts, accounts, or identity info).
Again – if you have no virus protection on your phone (or laptop), it is time to add one. Since you’re at it anyway, why not add a virus protection that does double duty and adds a second layer of theft protection and recovery options.
I receive no compensation from Lookout for my thoughts – awesome though they may be.