As we saw with AVG’s new Lost in Transit survey, the thrill of getting a new gadget this holiday season can very often turn to the heartache of loss or theft.

But with some 50 million smart phones and hundreds of millions of laptops, notebooks and tablets out there, mobile devices are an irresistible target for hackers, too.

With so many ways to lose our beloved (and pricy) mobile gadgets to theft, malware, or sheer forgetfulness, it’s a wonder so few of us are securing them with mobile security software that can block attacks, locate a lost device, and even remotely lock or wipe them.

If you don’t want your gift-getting cheers to turn to gift-losing tears this holiday season, here are some ways to protect this year’s most popular mobile items—along with all the sensitive data on it that can compromise your financial and even personal security:

 

Smartphones:

Among this year’s big ticket gift items are the iPhone 4S, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, Droid RAZR, and the Motorola Atrix 2, which boast high end mobile processors. But all that computing power amounts to very little if the device is among the 88 percent of stolen mobile devices that are never recovered. So take care. See what security and recovery software is available for your device. Install it. And then, as you enjoy your device, try and remember one thing: it is not a fish—it will not swim in water.

 

Laptops, notebooks, tablets:

Even though most users should be in the habit of securing and holding onto their portable computers by now, almost 20 percent of these devices are still lost or stolen in transit—especially around the holidays. That means your brand new Motorola Xoom, Macbook Air or iPad 2 could go practically straight from the box into a stranger’s hands or fall prey to a growing number of malware attacks that target both personal computers—including Macs. So be sure to install and update a lightweight, high-performance anti-virus program, lock your device with a password, and put your name on the back.

 

Gaming, e-book readers, MP3 players, digital cameras:

What is it that you want? The new Nintendo 3DS? The Kindle? An iPod Touch? They may not seem like devices that need to be security, but if they’re Wi-Fi enabled, be sure to check the security settings. And don’t forget to back up your music, photo, video and other files. Cloud services exist that let you schedule automatic back-ups of files that can be accessed and shared remotely.

 

Remember, if it has a screen, protect your machine!

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