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These Android Anti-Theft Apps Are Guaranteed to Stop Thieves in Their Tracks

These Android Anti-Theft Apps Are Guaranteed to Stop Thieves in Their Tracks

We know you take good care of your phone. Of course you do. Who wouldn’t be careful with a device that probably cost you several hundred of dollars? But the fact of the matter is, unless you’re leaving your phone in a locked safe in your bedroom, there’s always the chance that it could get stolen. Over 2 million mobiles are stolen every year in the US[1] and subscriber fraud costs mobile phone companies more than 100 million every year. So statistically there’s a fair chance that one day that mobile could be yours. Which is why we’re taking a look at anti-theft apps. If you’ve got an Android, here are the best apps for protection.

Why Install an App at All?

Other than being careful, there’s not a lot that you can do to prevent your phone being stolen. What you can do is protect your data and possibly even find your phone. A solid, anti-theft app should allow you to lock down or even erase your personal data (such as banking apps, Facebook passwords, and contacts) and allow you to track the phone as well (just in case you happened to leave it somewhere or so that the police can track it down in some circumstances).

Installing such apps isn’t a requirement. But the consequences of not doing so can be severe. Got that Amazon app on your phone? Then your thief is free to purchase things on your account as long as it’s logged in. Got a banking app? Then things are even worse if it allows the thief to transfer funds. Trust us, you want to protect your data in the best way possible, and that means being prepared for the worst.

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The Default Option

Android users do have a built-in option for anti-theft precautions, and it’s pretty simple to set up (no downloads or payment necessary, so there’s no excuse not to do this one). Head into your Settings menu, scroll down to the section titled “Permission,” and then hit “Security.” Then simply check the box next to “Android Device Manager.” You can now access your phone remotely from your regular Google account (through Gmail is the easiest way). This default option allows you to remotely lock, track, or wipe data. The upsides are that it’s free and easy; the downsides are that these functions are pretty basic. This means that you might want to opt for a better, third party option, such as one of the below.

Prey

Prey is a very inclusive app that allows you to track not only your phone, but also tablets, laptops, and any other electronic device that you may have. Register your device into the app, and should it go missing head to the Prey website and mark it as lost. You will then be able to track or lock your device. Simple. But you can also send a message that will display on your phone’s lockscreen (we imagine something like “Give back my phone”…), make the phone sound a loud alarm, or even take photos with the phone that are then displayed on your PC (giving you a look at the criminal if nothing else).

You can also set up Prey with a “Control Zone” (ideally around your home or workplace), and you’ll receive a notification if your device leaves that zone. Prey is free, but a premium option allows you to add more Control Zones and devices.

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Lookout

Lookout is a great app, but it doesn’t top our list simply because the free version is very limited. Using the free version of Lookout lets you track your device and scan apps you download to see if they’re safe, which isn’t especially impressive.

However, if you’re willing to pay for the premium version you get some awesome features. Premium Lookout lets you limit app permissions, as well as monitoring websites to make sure they’re not stealing any info from you. You can also remotely lock and wipe your phone, and there’s the possibility to back up your call logs and photos at the same time. Finally, you’ll get theft alerts if anything strange happens on/to your devices, and breach reports if any of the services you use are hacked.

Cerberus

Cerberus gives you tons of features. Not only does it let you lock or wipe your phone online (as well as making the phone ring to sound an alarm), but it will also let you do the same thing via SMS (which is great since your stolen phone might not necessarily have an internet connection). You can be alerted if your SIM card is changed; you can also remotely take video or photos, both of which are pretty cool. But the coolest function is something called AutoTask, which lets you set up “if X, then Y” situations. For example, you can set up a task that says “if the wrong password is entered, set off the alarm.”

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Cerberus is free for a week, after which you have to buy a yearly subscription (but it’s cheaper than most apps). However, the downside to Cerberus is that it’s pretty complicated to use and isn’t particularly intuitive. If you’re tech minded, Cerberus is the best anti-theft choice out there, but the less device savvy might want to move on to our final option.

Where’s My Droid

Our pick for best anti-theft app right now is probably Where’s My Droid, simply because it offers many of the same features as Cerberus, and yet is much more user friendly. The free version will let you set a passcode on your phone remotely, locate your device, make the device ring, or send an alert if the SIM card is changed (important so you know that the phone number no longer works). All of that is pretty good, but there’s more.

Upgrade to Where’s My Droid premium (for a small, one-time payment) and you get rid of the ads that run along the bottom of your screen. You also add the ability to remotely lock and wipe your phone (as well as hiding the app icon for Where’s My Droid, so no one can delete it), and to remotely take pictures with your device. Upgrade even more to the Elite version (for a yearly subscription) and you can see location history for the device, stats, and can set up control zones (like with Prey).

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Protecting your phone is obviously important, and the above are your best bets for anti-theft apps, with some being better than others. Be prepared: download your apps now; you might be glad you did if someone ever gets their hands on your phone.

Reference

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Stephanie Caudle

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Published on September 25, 2020

10 Best VPNs to Browse the Internet More Securely

10 Best VPNs to Browse the Internet More Securely

When it comes to digital security, public Wi-Fi networks aren’t safe enough, making it much easier for hackers to access your personal data. Whether you are studying in a library or scrolling through Facebook in a coffeehouse, it is vital to have a VPN installed on your device.

VPNs work wonders when it comes to securing your internet connection. By creating an encrypted tunnel between a remote server run by the VPN service, they protect your personal data from prying eyes. There is a variety of VPNs available on the web, and we have collated a list of the best VPNs that stand out from the rest.

How to Choose a VPN

  • Free trial period – Free trials allow you to try the product risk-free. The same idea technically applies to those with 30-day full refunds as well.
  • Speed – You want your VPN to be just as fast as the internet speed at home. Good quality VPNs are ones where you see little difference between those speeds.
  • Device connection – Of course, the more devices that can connect to VPNs, the better. It increases the customers’ coverage and the product’s value. You also want to consider compatibility since fewer VPNs may work for Mac or Windows only.
  • Number of servers – The number of servers determines how much capacity a VPN can handle while you are connected. The more servers there are, the more users it can handle without running into potential disconnections or slow speeds.
  • Kill switch feature – Having this feature means that your IP address isn’t exposed if the VPN disconnects for some reason. A lack of this feature is a big deal since the whole reason why you’re paying for a VPN is to hide your IP address, among other things. (Find out how to avoid getting tracked online here: Big Brother Is Watching You Online: How To Avoid Being Tracked)

Why You Should Trust Us

Our hand-picked VPNs are incredibly efficient and offer such distinctive features that grant you safe browsing. They outperform many VPNs in terms of both speed and security. Their primary aim is to provide you the utmost security, thus enabling you to surf the web safely and prevent any potential threat from causing harm.

Among the best VPNs’ many unique features include split tunneling, strict logging policies, high encryption level, and availability of international servers. We have gathered them in this article to enlighten our readers and offer the best pieces of advice before you get one. Therefore, take our word for it, and if you go for a VPN mentioned below, you’d be fully appeased.

1. NordVPN

The most popular VPN on the market these days is NordVPN, and it’s easy to see why. It has widespread coverage, offering a selection of over 5,000 servers spanning across 59 countries.[1] Due to the high number of servers, its speed is similar to your Wi-Fi at home.

Lifehack’s CEO, Leon, has been using NordVPN for many years and wants to recommend it for its remarkable server count in different locations with no-logs policy. The VPN perfectly works with Netflix and Fire TV stick, too.

NordVPN is also compatible with Mac, Windows, and Linux. You can download the app onto Chrome, Firefox, Android, and Mac OS. Thanks to its massive coverage, it’s easy to connect multiple devices onto these servers.

In terms of pricing, while NordVPN doesn’t have a free trial period, they argue that their plans are considerably cheaper than those of their competitors. For example, a one-year plan for ExpressVPN costs $8.32 per month, but NordVPN only charges $6.99 monthly.

NordVPN has a new protocol called NordLynx that is based on WireGuard with speed benefits, though it’s still under development.[2] If you’re looking for general quality and affordability, this is one of the best VPNs around.

Buy this VPN.

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2. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is the second-best option out there for keeping your privacy while browsing the internet. Like many other VPNs here, they will encrypt your IP address, offer vast coverage, and can have multiple devices connected to their servers.

Compared to NordVPN, while the pricing point is higher, ExpressVPN’s biggest selling point is the number of countries that their connection covers. Depending on where you are in the world, this may be the only option you have. They have fewer servers — 160, to be precise — but they make up for the low server count by covering 94 countries.[3]

Cost-wise, your best bet is to go with the yearly plan where they charge $8.32 a month. They also have one- and six-month plans.

Buy this VPN.

3. Surf Shark

With regards to Surf Shark, you can connect multiple devices to its servers, and it’s compatible with Windows, Linux, and Mac. It is also available on Android, iOS, Chrome, Firefox, and FireTV.

Furthermore, Surf Shark can whitelist apps and sites, letting them bypass the VPN. This, along with the lines of split-tunneling, is another feature that many VPNs offer. The difference is that Surf Shark allows you to whitelist specific apps or any website, while most VPNs will whitelist all sites or none at all.

The other consideration for this app is the price. While lower-tier plans are more expensive compared to others, Surf Shark’s 24-month plan is priced at $2.69 a month, so it’s cheaper than even NordVPN’s equivalent plan!

Buy this VPN.

4. CyberGhost

Another top-reviewed VPN is CyberGhost. They’ve been around for 15 years and have fine-tuned their offers and features to stay competitive. They provide the standard package of browsing the web and logging into accounts safely and give you access to regionally blocked content.

The network also maintains security from hackers, malware, and phishing. Aside from that, you can connect multiple devices, and it’s compatible with all kinds of platforms.

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What separates CyberGhost from the others is their extensive coverage. They have multiple servers, and the pricing point is still very low. It covers over 88 countries and has roughly 6200 servers for you to choose from, all while charging $2.75 for their 18-month plan.

Buy this VPN.

5. IPVanish

IPVanish’s prime purpose is to give users online freedom by providing fast speeds and private connections. It’s clear that they can meet that promise as they provide many of the features that have been listed previously from their competitors.

IPVanish is a part of SugarSync now. What is that, you may ask? It’s a cloud-based service that syncs files across devices and computers for sharing, backup, and many more. What this means is that other devices can access various files and videos so long as they are connected to your specific VPN. Furthermore, it can serve as a backup plan if you get hacked or lose your device for some reason.

Buy this VPN.

6. Private Internet Access

Private Internet Access (PIA) is a remarkably generous company in many ways. Aside from the obvious features, they offer great incentives and discounts for people to try out their products. They claim to be the most trustworthy and reliable VPN around, and we believe that.

One notable thing is that PIA offers a free two-month trial. Compared to other VPNs to this point, none have provided free trials (though all come with a 30-day money-back guarantee). On top of that, small businesses can avail of their VPN at a discounted rate. There is also the fact that their pricing plans go as low as $2.69 a month for two years, and they let you pay with gift cards.

In terms of specs, PIA has over 2695 servers that cover 47 countries right now.

These particular aspects make PIA unique and one of the best VPNs to consider.

Buy this VPN.

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7. Hotspot Shield

Hotspot Shield is all about offering protection while you’re browsing the internet or using streaming services like Netflix. The encryption is military-grade, and its speed is ultra-fast. In truth, it is even marketed as one of the fastest VPNs.

Hotspot Shield offers a plan that only costs  $7.99 a month; however, it’s one of the few in this list to provide its services for free. Like other Freemium apps, the free version comes with limited features. That said, it gives you a much better feel for the VPN.

Also, take note that the encryption feature is still there, though the limitations in the free plan include connecting to one location in the US and having limited streaming options and speed.

Buy this VPN.

8. TunnelBear

As unusual as a name choice for an online security protection service can be, TunnelBear is nothing short of incredible. It makes our list of the best VPNs for various reasons.

The biggest one is that the company goes through a yearly security audit. This is notable because many VPNs don’t bother about independent audits to ensure their systems are secure and safe from any issues. This is critical as VPNs have gotten some bad reputation over the years, as TunnelBear has noted in their post about their security audit.[4] The fact that they are doing this annually ensures that nothing is being compromised.

Furthermore, TunnelBear offers limited services for free, but even their paid plans are pretty cheap. For individuals, you’re merely paying $3.33 per month. The only catch is that you can connect five devices regardless of which paid plan you pick.

Buy this VPN.

9. Norton

Norton has been on the security scene for some time, and it’s actually one of the founders of the internet security industry. It started with virus and malware protection in 1991 and has since branched off to other sectors as the industry has shifted.

As you might expect from a company that’s been around for a long time, Norton provides excellent services, and a few of their other services have gone into the VPN package. In reality, Norton is the only one thus far to offer a password manager with their VPN services. They provide 50GB of cloud storage as well.

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Norton has one of the cheapest VPNs, considering you can get their deluxe plan at $49.99 per year. That comes up to roughly $4.17 a month. It might be slightly higher than other equivalent plans, but you get a lot of extra value that makes it worth the price.

Buy this VPN.

10. StrongVPN

The final VPN we want to cover is StrongVPN. Like many others, it’s great at blocking unnecessary web traffic and providing a fast and simple solution to navigating the internet without any hindrance.

StrongVPN has over 900 servers. It is available in more than 30 countries and compatible with all devices. Beyond that, the only notable selling point it has compared to others is that it also offers Sugarsync services and 250GB of storage, irrespective of your chosen plan.

As for the pricing, their year-long plan costs $5.83 a month, while their month-long one is $10.

Buy this VPN.

Bottom Line

Getting online protection is important these days, and companies recognize this.

With more hacks and breaches occurring every single day, the best VPNs can provide an excellent haven for many people who value their security and privacy.

We hope that by putting together this list, you’ll be able to find the best VPN that you can trust and enjoy using. As you can see, there are several great options with no real wrong one out there. Pick the VPN that’s best for you.

Featured photo credit: Petter Lagson via unsplash.com

Reference

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