Technology is getting more complicated every day, and it’s hard to keep up with everything you need to know or do, especially when it comes to keeping your devices and virtual information safe. Nowadays cyber attackers are a severe problem, and it’s not only your computer that they’re targeting. Hackers have been very active lately, and Android devices are targeted regularly.
It’s no secret that Google’s Android OS is considered less secure than Apple’s iOS, but neither is wholly safe against any cyber crooks trying to get their hands on whatever info you have stored on your phone. There’s no need to get paranoid though – not everyone is out to get you. But there’s no excuse not to prepare as if they are, and there’s a lot you can do to protect yourself from cyber threats. So here are some simple tips that will help you keep your Android device safe.
That being said, no system will ever be wholly protected from a dedicated attacker. But luckily, most of us ordinary mobile users never need to fend off such attacks; well, unless you somehow got your hands on the entire list of spies working for the CIA. If not though, then these tips will keep you safe from most malware nuances out there.
Having antimalware software installed on your Android device is just like having an antivirus program installed on your computer. It’s one of the basic ways you can protect yourself from unwanted software trying to get cozy between your family vacation photos and that banking app password you forgot to erase on a note.
An antimalware app like Norton Mobile Security or Avast Mobile Security automatically scans your phone for any potentially dangerous viruses and malware. Each security app has its own set of features, but some common ones include call blockers, photo vaults that let you lock away any photos you choose, app protectors that allow you to lock specific apps so only you can use them and find my phone services for if your device gets stolen. These are all great features to have in place for when you want to protect your device and ensure privacy.
Use a VPN
Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are gaining a lot of popularity under both Android and PC users. That’s because they do a great job of protecting your data through encryption as well as your privacy by giving you a new virtual IP. What this means is that whenever you’re browsing on the internet, you’ll be safe from anyone that’s trying to trace or glean information about you through your connection. Especially when you’re using a public WiFi because those are about as secure as your grandma’s cookie tin.
You could try some free VPNs, but the consensus is to stick to paid ones – since free VPNs are more likely to be security threats themselves than actually help you. Be sure to do your research when choosing a VPN and pick one that is fully optimized for Android OS and provides the best security features available.
Watch Out for Malicious Apps
Whenever downloading apps, it’s usually a good idea to stick to the Google Play Store. The apps on the store have gone through a screening process, and the chances of you downloading anything malicious are low. You probably already know it’s a terrible idea to download anything from a source you don’t know. Just check out the CopyCat Malware threat that hacked into more than 14 million Android devices back in 2017 for proof. But either way, if you do want to download an app, it’s best to check it out thoroughly for any dodgy behavior.
Many creators behind malicious apps try to market their products misleadingly so you would think that you’re downloading a helpful app, when in fact, they’re just helping themselves to whatever’s on your phone. A relatively good indicator for whether an app is trustworthy or not is it’s the review section. There may be some fake reviews here and there, but you can generally scope them out pretty quickly. If the app you’re trying to download doesn’t have a review section, then you might want to think twice about it anyway. Or search for any comments or reviews about it on a search engine.
Check Your App Permissions
It’s a good idea to check out which permissions an app is requesting before downloading it. If you’re downloading a game like Candy Crush, for instance, then it would be weird if the app wants access to your contacts and image gallery, right? So, whenever an app requests strange permissions, you need to be wary of what precisely this developer wants from your device. If you already downloaded an app and are unsure of its permissions, then you can check them under the app manager in your phone settings. From there you can click on each app to see what permissions it’s been given and also disable them if you want.
Encrypt Your Phone
These days our phones are like a second computer that goes with us everywhere. So, it’s essential that you make sure all the information stored on your device isn’t easily accessible should your phone get stolen or lost. The solution is to encrypt the data on your phone with a password. Every Android device comes with an encryption setting that you can activate. Just be sure to remember that password, or you’ll have to reset your phone! Techradar has a quick and easy guide to encrypting your phone if you need one, but it’s a pretty simple process.
Set a Strong Screen Lock
Setting up a screen lock isn’t just important for keeping any curious nancy’s out of those photos you don’t want anyone to see; it’s a requirement for anyone who doesn’t want a stranger to have access to all of their personal data. You need to set up a robust screen lock in case your phone gets stolen or is simply lying around where a lot of people can get a hold of it. With ‘good screen lock,’ we mean one that’s a little more complicated than drawing a straight diagonal line. Keep it complex and avoid predictable patterns or if you use a passphrase make sure to use lower and upper case letters along with special symbols and numbers.
Keep Your Device Updated
Just like with computer software, Android software also gets updated often. This is because the technicians over at Google are working hard to make sure your phone is up to date with all of the shifty new tricks people are coming up. OS updates are there for a reason and they often include security patches, so it’s a good idea to keep up and make sure your Android’s OS is up to date.
All of these tips should have you on your way towards becoming a worry-free Android owner. It’s always a gut-churning experience when your phone gets stolen but at least this way you don’t have to worry about someone taking your personal info too.