With over one billion Android devices in use worldwide, it’s important to secure your device from constant exploits and questionable apps being added to the app store. Most users skip over the sensitive data contained in their smartphones and most of us are guilty of only using a screen lock code for security. It is important to secure the device in case of theft or loss but just as important to protect against online threats. Follow our tips below to better secure your Android device and enjoy a more worry free experience, no matter how much bad luck comes your way.
Things to do to secure your Android device.
Invest in a VPN – Virtual Private Network
Using a virtual private network (VPN) connection on your Android device, creates an encrypted private tunnel that cloaks all the data flowing in and out of your device. This helps keep you anonymous, hiding your browsing activities from your service provider and spying agencies, but that is not the only advantage. Obviously, you will be able to use geo-locked services from any country such as streaming BBC or Netflix form anywhere in the world, but more importantly, the VPN service protects your data from being snooped on or stolen by attackers. Using a mobile device means you will most likely connect to various public Wi-Fi networks, where attackers can lurk on unsuspecting victims. The investment is well worth it and presents many advantages to both local and travel use.
If you do not plan to use a VPN, we highly suggest to stay off unprotected public Wi-Fi networks. An important extra layer of security is to ensure your device is set not to automatically connect to available networks in proximity. If you do want to use a VPN but aren’t sure what to go for, read up our article on some of the best VPNs for Android devices.
Lock Your Device with Screen Lock
This is the obvious first basic security check. Locking your screen with a PIN code or pattern effectively stops anyone from snooping on your device if left unattended. This is a very basic level of protection and if your device is lost, it can often be cracked. Guessing PINs or checking for fingerprint smudges of your lock pattern are often used techniques to get passed the lock. Additionally, the attacker would be able to factory reset the device and still recover lots of your personal data with very little effort.
Be Extra Careful when Downloading Apps
This is a very important learning curve for everyone to put in practice. You must scrutinize every app before downloading and installing it. First, downloading from unknown sources is always risky, but even on the Google App Store, you want to check everything out as Trojan apps sometimes make it through. With over a hundred thousand malicious Trojan apps, it is important to verify reviews and not just download counts. The reviews will often give you the information you need to make an educated choice on whether or not it is determined to be safe by the Android community. If you have any non-trusted apps from unknown sources already installed, remove them immediately.
Always Check App Permission Requests
Just as equally important to verifying an App’s source and feedback on the App store, checking what permissions the app requests is vital to your security. Many just simply click through the request and allow just about any permission to be granted. Pay attention to what it is asking for, does the app really need that to operate? Here are some red flags to watch out for; Access to online accounts, Full access to the internet, Authority to send text messages. With these kinds of permissions, you might find yourself hacked and sending off paid text messages that will show up on your bill.
Invest in an Android Mobile Security App
If you download and install lots of apps or files, it may sometimes be wiser to have an anti-virus installed. New exploits and viruses are created all the time, to try and curtail current security systems. Anti-Virus and Security apps constantly work to keep ahead of the cyber criminals and certainly help detect and protect you against various types of attacks. Many of these apps include features to protect your personal data, banking account details and such.
Android Device Manager and Tracking/Wiping Lost Device
With the Android Device Manager, you can effectively track a lost or stolen device. Having this setup from day one is a very good idea. The Device Manager also allows you to wipe your data off the phone, no matter its location, as long as it is connected to the network. Many apps also offer similar features and the capability of turning GPS on or off from a distance. Wiping your device remotely can also be accomplished using third party apps.
Use Built-In Security and Data Lock Features
We love the fact that you can add an extra security layer to sensitive files or data on your smartphone. The Galaxy S5 offers great fingerprint scan to block access to selected sections of your device. All effective security works in layers, the more layers you add, the more security you can count on. Many third party apps offer such features and password protection on any type of file, but remember to properly review out the apps you decide on using first, to avoid downloading malicious software. Location and Security settings can be configured on every device to better tailor to your security needs.