The amount of data that we store on our smartphones literally knows no limit and everything from contact information to personal photographs and financial information, including passwords for some, are available at the tap of a screen or click of a QWERTY keyboard. This is fine as long as the access belongs to us alone. If there have been occasions when you have had to deal with a lost or stolen phone, and the loss or stolen data more importantly, it can be a frightening experience and you do put yourself at risk in terms of security. While there is the ability to lock our phones in our daily use, most people don’t simply do this because it is inconvenient to have to keep unlocking it every time we want to use it. There is another option in the form of McAfee WaveSecure, an app available for the BlackBerry user.
This app is created by McAfee, a business whose HQ is in California, has an established reputation as a software giant. Anyone who has heard of the term ‘antivirus’ or ‘computer security’ will naturally have come across the brand name of McAfee. Other products include McAfee Antivirus Plus, McAfee Total Protection and being one of the leaders in computer security; it is not hard to understand why McAfee has taken on the task to provide system security for mobile devices.
Once you have downloaded McAfee WaveSecure and installed it, the setup is fairly straightforward and you will just have to follow the prompts that appear. This will require you to agree to the Terms of Service and enter your own number and that of a friend that McAfee WaveSecure can contact should you lose your mobile device, and a PIN number. Once this is done, the system will prompt you with a series of options. The first is to create a Backup by syncing key elements which include your contacts, call logs and messages. Note that it is possible to instruct the system to do this on a daily basis. There is an Upload Media feature that allows you to manually select photos and videos that need to be protected as well. The other feature is to Restore which will allow you access to items that have previously been backed up but this is limited. You can then Lock Down Phone and you can unlock it by using the six-digit PIN entered earlier. An interesting feature here is found at Menu > Settings > Auto-Lock on SIM Change which will allow your phone to auto-lock when the SIM card is changed on GSM smartphones. The last of the five options is Wipe Now which will result in the deletion of all contacts, SMS messages, call logs, videos, photos and even the memory card files. Always double-check that you are ready to use this feature before clicking the icon.
A quick look at the main features of McAfee WaveSecure
- Allows you to lock down your mobile phone
- Provides you with the ability to remotely track and control your phone after it is gone
- Allows you to access the information stored on your phone through the web service
- It is also possible to send a text message to your phone that will trigger the lock, locate or wipe functions as fixed by you
- Should be coupled with WaveSecure UninstallProtection which activates automatically when someone tries to uninstall this app before you remotely wipe it.
Pros of McAfee WaveSecure
If you have a tendency to misplace your phone and as a rule, don’t lock the device when it is not in use, McAfee WaveSecure is something that is worth considering. While it does not provide you with unlimited access to your phone or a guarantee that all the information in your phone is recoverable, it is certainly a good start. You will however need to take a little time to explore the five key options provided and familiarize yourself with the functionality of these features.
While the app has great utility, it seems that there are some basic elements that are missing. The main one is the fact that while you can back up a variety of specific things on the web, your ability to access these is limited when it comes time to upload these back into a new phone. There is also a risk that in the process of uploading the content that you originally downloaded, that you will bump into network errors that can be very distressing. In addition, much of the uploading has to be done manually in comparison with the downloading which was mostly automated. This can be annoying if you need to recover information in a rush. Ultimately if you have the misfortunate of losing your phone to a hacker, it is unlikely that he will be deterred by the fact that your phone is protected by WaveSecure therefore your response time to the loss or theft is very important and must be taken advantage of.
In a nutshell
This is an interesting app which shows a lot of promise. While it takes care of the key issues concerning security, there are several ways to enhance the features of this app that can make it better and easier to use in the long run. However if you think you are at risk now, this app will serve you well the next time you reach for your mobile phone and it is not there.
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