smartphone screenModern travelers rarely go anywhere without a smartphone. It’s the way we stay connected to the office, see photos of the kids’ soccer match we missed and even board an airplane. But traveling with a smartphone can be a risky proposition.

While we are using our phones to bank, shop and send valuable information, hackers are on the prowl ready to steal private info. According to Lookout Mobile Security’s 2011 Mobile Threat Report, up to 1 million mobile phone users will be affected by mobile security threats in 2011.  

These tips from Lookout Mobile Security, which sells security software for smartphones, offers these tips for protecting your phone when you’re at home and on the road.    

1.       Set a password. A password is the first line of defense so only you can access the important data on your phone.

2.       Download the software updates for your phone. Updates to the phone and apps can include patches to security flaws that can put your information at risk.

3.       Download a security app. Just like your PC, you should download security software to stop malware, spyware and malicious apps. With the right app, you can also locate a lost or stolen phone and back up your data.

4.       Use discretion when downloading apps. One of the most exciting things to do with a new smartphone is explore all the great applications you can download onto it. But, before you download anything, make sure it’s coming from a site you trust, check the app’s rating, and read the reviews to make sure the app is widely used and respected.

5.       Be careful what you do on public Wi-Fi. We all love free wi-fi in the airport, at the Starbuck’s and anywhere else. While public Wi-Fi networks are everywhere, security for those networks is not. Limit email and social networking on unsecured networks and, in particular, use extra caution when shopping and mobile banking unless you’re confident you have a secure connection.

Flickr photo by digitpedia.