The more technology I introduce into my life, the more paranoid I get about wifi security. I have so much personal information on my phone and tablets, and I despair the day I finally lose my device or have it stolen. Fortunately, the smartphone security product from the long familiar and trusted Norton by Symantec helps to set my mind at ease with Norton Mobile Security.
I love that I can feel more secure with my devices using this $29.99 per year (or 2 years for $49.99) service from Norton. It’s a small price to pay knowing that my mobile devices are just as protected as my home computers, and it’s super easy to purchase and download from the Norton site. This subscription protects multiple devices, so everyone in your family can be part of your subscription, whether they use an Android or iOs device. Though some parts of the Norton website say the $29.99 fee is for just one device, it does protect multiple devices for the same subscription.
While I originally knew Norton just as an antivirus software, it’s come so far beyond that now. My smartphone security includes antivirus software (interestingly available only for Android and not iOs platform devices), as well as web and call blocking services so that it becomes that much harder to scam me, again options available only on Android devices.
Services that are available for both iOs and Android include anti-theft security and contact backup. The contact backup is great to ensure that if my device is lost or stolen or I choose to get a new one, all my contacts will easily transfer over. While most of my contacts are already in the cloud now and transfer when I get a new device, I appreciate having another point of backup. The anti-theft smartphone security is by far my favorite feature available on both platforms.
How many times have you set down your phone or tablet, swearing you left it right here and then not being able to find it? I’ve been reduced to having friends try calling my phone before, which only helps when it isn’t on silent. My tablet is a lost cause, however, until I manage to stumble upon it. Not anymore. Now I can simply visit the Norton Mobile Security website, log in, and ask my device to “scream” – which works whether it is on silent or not. Never again will my phone be able to hide in my couch cushions or on my nightstand or in my purse or – ahem – plugged in. Instead, twelve beeps go off, loud and reminiscent of a submarine diving warning but not so shrill that it’s painful to listen to.
On the Android side of things, I love that I can scan my phone just like I do for my laptop security at home. I have it set up to scan for malware weekly now. It takes just a few minutes and then lets me know where I stand. When I scanned it the first time, it came up with two “other” risks. As I investigated further, I saw that Norton picked up permissions from two apps I had installed that it wasn’t comfortable with. I was easily able to see both what apps they were and what permissions Norton Mobile Security thought were questionable. I chose to delete one app that I rarely use that collects my device’s phone number (perhaps this is why I am receiving odd phone calls?) while choosing to leave the other app in place. For now. I appreciate how easy it is to manage, and I’m even more confident in the security of the apps on my phone.
Another of the cool features I’m loving? You can actually manage many of these security features using SMS tools. Using a passcode, you can send an SMS message to your Android phone (sorry iOs users) to lock your device or wipe its data if it’s been stolen. You can also send a request to locate your device or scream your device to find it, all via SMS. These functions are also available (for Android phones only) on the Norton Mobile Security website, but if you aren’t near a computer when you need to try to find your phone, this is a very nifty alternative.
I will admit that it seems odd to me that there are so many valuable features available on Android devices that aren’t also available for iOs devices. I would really like to be able to scan my iPad the same way that I can scan my Samsung phone. I’d also like to be able to lock my iPad if it has been stolen, display a customizable message (like “hey – call me at this number if you found my device”), and take periodic photos of whomever is using my iPad, capabilities that are available only on the Android platform. This may be the first time I’ve seen an Android app with more features than an iOs app. For $29.99 per year, regardless of platform, I hope that Norton plans to introduce more features to iOs users soon.
The critical features, fortunately, are available for both platforms (though Windows devices are not compatible, and neither are my children’s Kindles – definitely devices I would like to be able to protect). So long as your device is connected to a network, you can easily use the Norton Mobile Security website to locate your device. It will send out tracking and then display its location on a map. If it isn’t connected (which unfortunately, my wifi only iPad isn’t likely to be), it send out a signal once it has connected to a network.
The Norton Mobile Security website is also easy to navigate. You can add your devices there, as well as edit them if information changes or delete them if you no longer own the device. It’s simple to scream your device or erase the information on your device if it is truly stolen (available only for Android devices). There are really only two downfalls that I’ve found to the Norton Mobile Security website. The first is that it is surprisingly slow. Each page will eventually load, but not (yet) at the speeds I’m used to elsewhere on the web. Secondly, Norton is – not surprisingly – hypersensitive on security. You are logged out after a short period of time, even if you haven’t been inactive. It is somewhat annoying to have to log yourself back in as you utilize the site, but I understand Norton’s vigilance when it come to security.
Sounds kind of cool, right? You can try it out for yourself to see what you think with a free 30 day trial of Norton Mobile Security. And of course Norton has an entire suite of security products, including Norton Hotspot Privacy that protects the data you transmit when you’re on the go.
I remember the days when I had a secure VPN connection through my job that made me confident when connecting to the Internet when I was away from home. I no longer have that same security and now simply don’t visit many websites that require information I deem too secure – from online shopping to accessing my online banking and more – unless I’m on a connection I know is secure. This is what the Norton Mobile Hotspot provides, and you can also get a free 30 day trial of Norton Mobile Hotspot service to check how that works. You can protect up to 5 devices (Windows, Mac OS X or iOS, though not Android) for $19.99 per month or $49.99 per year.
And yes, depending on where you live, you can really test it out, too. Norton is heading out on tour with a truck sharing all about its Mobile Security and other features. There are a few truck stops left, and if you can, check them out – I’ve heard they’re giving away prizes to winners at each stop, too. You can visit the truck in San Antonio, TX at La Cantera mall from Dec. 19 – 22 (Thursday-Friday 11am-7pm Sat-Sun 10am-8pm) or at the CES Conference in Las Vegas, NV from Jan 7 through the 10.