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FCC launches free smartphone security tool
AFP
December 20, 2012
First Published: 11:03 IST(20/12/2012)
Last Updated: 11:09 IST(20/12/2012)
A man using Internet on his smartphone

Called the Smartphone Security Checker, a new tool from the FCC is designed to help consumers protect their mobile devices from viruses and other threats.

The online tool, which offers smartphone owners customized security steps based on their operating system -- whether Android, iOS, Windows Phone 8 or BlackBerry -- was developed to help US consumers protect themselves from the growing risk of viruses, malware, suspicious apps and even mobile device theft.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) developed the tool in partnership with a number of companies including DHS, NCSA, FTC, CTIA, Lookout, BlackBerry, Chertoff Group, Sophos, McAfee and Symantec, and claims it was motivated to do so by the fact that the majority of smartphone owners admit they don't know how to protect themselves from mobile security threats.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said, "With less than half of smartphone owners using passwords to protect their devices, this new tool will be of particular value to millions of Americans. The holiday gift-giving season is a perfect time to remind consumers to take simple steps, like setting a password, to protect themselves from mobile security threats."

It is estimated that there are currently 120 million active smartphone users in the US and that as many as 20 million consumers will receive a handset as a gift during the holiday season. Therefore the arrival of the Smartphone Security Checker couldn't be better timed. It incorporates best practices on how to set pins and passwords, helps users identify the best security apps and instructs how to securely back up content and identify secure and non-secure wi-fi connections.


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