As the Android platform continues to grow in popularity, cybercriminals have taken notice. They are using the vulnerabilities of the open-source operating system to steal user information and even money from premium text fees.
Luckily, taking the necessary steps toward robust Android security is easy and inexpensive.
Stephen Sweeney with San Antonio IT Services company Uprite shares 11 simple steps, you will have a foundation for protecting your data as you continue merging your finances, information, and life with your Android device.
Tip #1 – Allow Remote Lock and Wipe
By enabling remote lock and wipe, you can lock and wipe the entire phone if it is lost or stolen. Other features include playing an alert sound through the phone’s speaker and signing out of all accounts remotely.
Tip #2 – Always Update Your Apps
In addition to Android operating system updates, your apps also require regular updates. Even the simplest app can eliminate vulnerabilities with an update, so it is important to regularly install patches. The best way to do this is to turn on auto-update for all apps.
Tip #3 – Be Cautious About Clinking Links in SMS Messages
Even the most intelligent have fallen victim to SMS scams. The best way to do this is to not open links in SMS messages. If you do not recognize the number, simply delete the message, or directly contact the business that sent the message.
Tip #4 – Consider a Password Manager
Password managers hide all your passwords behind a master password, which is the only login you need to remember. The greatest benefit of a password manager is it can generate super-strong passwords, so you do not need to put in the extra effort.
Tip #5 – Don’t Transfer Sensitive Information Across Public Wi-Fi
If you live in a major city, public Wi-Fi is everywhere. Top security experts advise to be cautious when using public Wi-Fi and avoiding them if possible. If you must use it, browse only HTTPS URLs, and never conduct any transactions with sensitive data.
Tip #6 – Download an Anti-Malware App
With Android viruses and malware recognized within the smartphone world, one of the best options to combat them is by downloading an anti-malware app. All the big anti-virus players have free and premium anti-malware mobile apps.
Tip #7 – Initiate Two-Step Verification
A two-step verification sends a code to your phone whenever you (or a cybercriminal) attempts to log in to your Google account from a different device. While this may seem inconvenient, it tremendously helps your security since others cannot gain access to your information, even if your password is compromised.
Tip #8 – Never Sideload Apps
One of the greatest advantages of using Android over iOS is the flexibility. However, you can also side-load apps that can open your phone to serious damage. Android allows you to install apps from raw installer files (side-loading) of which there is no way to tell if files are malware-infected.
Tip #9 – Never Use 1234 as a PIN
While this may seem like a no-brainer, make sure to use a PIN that is difficult for others to guess. PINS such as 0000, 1111, and 1234 are inappropriate, and using them provides little security. Similarly, simple pattern unlocks are also a pointless security measure. It is best to balance ease of typing, complexity, and memorability with these types of logins.
Tip #10 – Regularly Check for Security Patches
In addition to auto-updating your apps, it is critical to regularly check for security patches. Google releases a security patch approximately once per month to mitigate new vulnerabilities and threats uncovered since the last update.
Tip #11 – Utilize a VPN
Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are an additional layer of protection for browsing as all data is transferred through an encrypted connection between the VPN servers and your phone. Many popular VPN apps offer excellent encryption.
The extent of Android viruses, malware, and spyware may make you reconsider which apps you use and the amount you use your device, but it does not need to. Hackers are always searching for the easiest targets. You can avoid most nasty files and stop those that get through before accessing your personal information by following these 11 tips. By using tight security precautions and robust security apps, you can truly be and feel safe when using your mobile device in the future.