In this age and time, our phones have become an indispensable parts of our lives, with many of us relying on them for everything – from social life to finances. This is exactly what has made these phones and the information they contain about us so valuable to businesses around the world that selling that information has become a business in itself. And that has prompted the next step of the vicious circle – safety.
Cybersecurity is increasingly concerning for those who are online most of their time navigating through internet. Whilst personal computers and laptops are more at risk of getting infected with malware, our phones and tablets are not completely foolproof as well. Android, specially, given the high number of third party apps running on the OS is susceptible to hacking. Following are some of the best ways you can ensure the safety of your android device.
1. Phone Locks
Phone locks are the simplest way to protect Android in case you lose your phone or tablet. One can go for a PIN lock, pattern lock, password lock and, if the device supports it, a fingerprint or eye scanner lock.
It can easily be enabled by going to Settings > Security > Device Security. Mostly finger print/eye scanner and password locks are considered the hardest to be cracked. However please refrain from using highly guessable combinations as your password to keep your devices (and other accounts) safe.
However, to increase the level of protection, you can any time choose to provide specific apps one more level of encryption by using app passwords, which will make sure that no one but you can access your phone or apps.
2. Update Your OS and Apps
These app and system updates which you stall for so long given the extremely important and tight schedule you are always on, giving no time for your phone to breathe or update, they are important. Hugely important. These updates are not there just for new features, but also for several fixed and patches to secure the system further. Please keep the apps on your phone on auto update always (only on wifi) which will not cost you more and ensure your device is safe.
3. Say No To Third Party Apps
It is the third party apps that could let the ransomware like Wannacry into Android systems, even though the malware was intended for Windows operating systems. Unregulated apps, not downloaded from Google Playstore, hide what kind of permissions they need. If you download apps from the Playstore though, you can see the list of permissions – in Marshmallow and higher versions, you can see this list even after you have installed the applications.
These permissions may be harmless, like your Candy Crush seeking permission to access your Contacts, to send out requests asking friends and acquaintances to join. However, if you see a certain permission required that does not make sense, you should make it a point to block it. Better still, you should avoid downloading apps not on the Playstore to be safe from unregulated, third party access.
You’ll find App Permissions in Settings > Apps > App Permissions.
4. Secure Android: Set up user accounts
For Android users that operate their devices using their One Google account, we can now set up multiple accounts since the introduction of Lollipop. If you are going to share the device with someone, you can choose what parts of your Android you want them to see, and there are ways to institute parental controls, akin to child lock even for your phone. You can set up other user accounts using Settings > Users > Add user.
5. Regulate Your personal Information and Information You Share Online :
Most of Android users surf the internet using Chrome, and the fact that we are logged in through one or more Google accounts both on our phones and PCs is a great time saver, helping us sync things like bookmarks, browsing history and even Youtube history. Although this is a big help, it comes with its own drawbacks. If the Android phone falls into the wrong hands, it can give out a lot of personal information if the person knows where to look. With the myriad of social networking apps that have become a part of the popular culture today, we have developed a habit of sharing a lot online.
Data (particularly passwords) stored on the browser and can be controlled – launch the browser tapping on the three-dot icon at the top right of the window, and choosing Settings > Basics > Save passwords. Also open the Settings menu in Chrome, tap on your account, then choose what data is synced. Also important to remember is the Incognito mode, which does not track history and passwords, and can be used in case you do not want your passwords or history to be stored, especially in case of bank transactions and other sensitive data.
6. Use Android Device Manager To Track Your Android and Wipe Data:
Just like the iOS app Find iPhone that lets you track your Apple devices, the free application Android Device Manager lets you track your Android devices that are signed in with your Google account and wipe off all data in case you lose your device to protect anything sensitive you may have on it. The app can be downloaded from Google Play.
7. Back Up Your Device :
One important thing that we all end up skipping, but may prove critical if our Android device is infested with virus, is regularly backing up all data. This helps ending the device dependence of your data, making it a part of your Google account rather than your physical phone, which you can easily misplace. You can also access your photos and other data through the Chrome browser on your PC when you are signed in with your account, helping the platform independence of data that we always wanted.
8. Secure Android: Dealing with Android viruses and malware
Although rare, Android viruses are present and you are best off not clicking on suspicious links in your mail and messages. Downloading third party apps can also be dangerous. You can install anti-viruses like Lookout, Avast and AVG Free, but it is not a must. At this point, most Android users are safe if they stick to downloading apps from Google Play.
9. Using Secure Internet Connection
The one thing that we often neglect in our desire of more and more, is that less is often good. The same goes to our internet access as well, which can potentially harm our devices if logged in from unsafe connections like public WiFi systems. On airports, metros and cafes, usually free Wi-Fi is available which lures the best of us. However not using VPN (virtual private network) while being connected to a public WiFi is extremely threatening to the security of your devices. Search beforehand on the apps for VPN and download one from Playstore today. Even if it costs you a nickel, remember it can save you a dime in future. You can get started with the best Android VPN here: www.tvboxbee.com/vpn
10. Secure Android: Consider Device Insurance
Considering how costly some smartphones come these days, just like your house and car, you should also consider buying insurance for your phone, especially if you are the one who always their phone. Insurance2Go offers phone insurance at a rather low premium, and there are also other insurance services to choose from.
11. Secure Android: Use a Secure Messaging App
Hacking into text messages is quite easy, and you should be careful to use only applications that offer end-to-end encryption, so your messages are not accessible to the servers of the messaging service. WhatsApp has introduced the feature recently, and now a popular app called Signal Private Messenger has started offering the same.