According to Pew researchers, “more than half of app users have uninstalled or decided to not install an app due to concerns about personal information.” If you’re concerned about Internet privacy and cyber security, the following smartphone apps should help give you some peace of mind.
Silent Circle is one of the leading names in the privacy biz, and their Silent Phone app is used by both individuals and business clients. Silent Phone lets you make private calls with full video and conference capability. A companion app, Silent Text, is also available.
Ideal for the privacy-obsessed
No need to import contacts already on your device
Great call quality
Uses open source encryption
Silent Circle founders are the creators of the world’s most widely used and trusted encryption software – PGP and ZRTP
App is free, subscription to use the service is not
For the price you pay, some subscribers want deeper anonymity
Installation process takes too long
Silent Circle may suspend any Silent Circle account that has not been used for six months
Service does not automatically jump from a bad Wi-Fi connection to 3G/4G
Unlike other news readers, Noot requires no sign up at all. Additionally, the makers of Noot believe that people should be allowed to access news and topics on their phones they care about without having their personal data tracked and sold. You can get tailored news feeds delivered to your phone, without wondering if your embarrassing love of certain topics will get found out.
Create multiple streams, view them separately or all together
Limited language localization options at this time
Tablet version of the app seems more cluttered than the smartphone version
Relatively new app, may still have some bugs to work out
Personalization features learn what you like over time and suggest what else you might like: great for many, but a select few privacy fanatics may find this cool feature invasive
According to an article on PC World, the number of mobile apps infected with malware in Google’s Play store nearly quadrupled between 2011 and 2013. Keep your Android device safe by downloading Sophos’ free security app, which will help you scan for threats and develop good security habits.
Free app that is full featured and nag-free
Schedule regular app scans
Scans apps as they download
Helps you identify NSFW apps
Supports remote commands for the following in the event of loss or theft: wipe, lock, alarm (scream), locate, message to finder, reset passcode
Some users have reported freezes/locks with app
Can drain your battery
Requires frequent authentication
Loss/theft suite of options could stand to have a few more possibilities, including taking pictures or alerting authorities
App prone to crashing or overheating devices when in use
Cyber Dust is somewhat similar to Snapchat, but with a few key differences. Unlike the newest version of Snapchat, Cyber Dust doesn’t support video chatting…but video chat support is coming soon. Messages auto-destruct after 30 seconds, and this app is great because it has no character limits on chats.
Supports GIFs and also lets you add text over images
Requires iOS 6.1 or later (great for people who haven’t upgraded to iOS 7.0 or 7.1 yet)
Messages are encrypted
Not clear what type of encryption is used
Lacks some features found in Snapchat
For fastest possible messaging, you must be running iOS 7.0 or later
Push notifications may sometimes lag
If the recipient does not receive the message within 12 hours, it is deleted permanently
Cloak is a VPN service that allows you to use public Wi-Fi safely, or to bypass blocks on your web access. Cloak VPN offers a 30-day free trial. Cloak plans cost as little as $1.99/month after your free trial expires. Cloak stands out because of their friendly, funny, and fast customer service. It is not available for Android devices at this time.
Keeps your browsing history secure on public Wi-Fi
Fast and simple to get started
Use the app for 30 days before you have to pay a penny
Reliable, lets you auto-secure on non-trusted or unfamiliar networks
Service subscription costs add up over time
Service has both “passes” and “subscriptions.” If you’re currently paying for a subscription, you won’t be able to buy a pass, and vice versa.