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Seen At 11: Encryption Services Protect Smartphones From Hackers

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — We rely on our smartphones for just about everything. But just like a computer, they can be easily hacked.

As CBS 2’s Maurice DuBois reported, there are a growing number of apps and services that promise to help protect your personal information from outsiders.

Jeremy Banner said he is taking precautions by using encryption technology on his phone.

“I personally have had information stolen from me — my social security number — and I don’t want to fall victim to that kind of thing again,” he said.

“If you don’t use any kind of security, you’re … pretty much just like leaving your car door unlocked and leaving your wallet on your seat.”

There are services such as Chat Secure and Silent Text that encrypt all of your data, from documents and photos to movies and even your voice.

“Some encryption software is easy enough to use that even your grandma could use it,” said Philip Zimmermann, president and co-founder of Silent Circle, which makes Silent Text.

But in order to decipher the messages using the apps, the person you’re communicating with also needs to have it. Complicating matters even more is that some of the services charge monthly fees.

“It takes two to tango,” said Christopher Soghoian, the principal technologist for the American Civil Liberties Union. “Consumers are sort of stuck, figuring out which one do they use and then convincing their friends to also use that app, too.”

You can also hide your Internet activity on your smartphone with browsers such as Orweb or Onion Browser.

But even when using encryption apps, there’s always a possibility your communications could still be compromised.

“They’re not going to provide 100 percent security, but they’re definitely an improvement,” Soghoian said.

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