How To Secure Android
As more than 70% of smartphone users use Android devices for everything, from messaging to shopping, it is crucial to secure them. Unfortunately, the popularity of Android devices has led to the growth of malware and the vulnerability of the platform.
Essentially, if you are an Android user, your sensitive data is at a higher risk. Fortunately, we have tested some methods and found a few simple ways to ensure the safety of your device.
1. Use a VPN
You use your phone to send emails, shop online, scroll Instagram or chat with your friends. You can do all of this on public networks, not only using your home Wi-Fi. Unfortunately, public networks are not always the most secure when it comes to sending or receiving information.
Note that other people and services that want to track you may have access to your data and identifiable information. While internet service providers or cable companies may have no malicious intentions regarding this data, hackers could.
The good news is, you can make your Android device more secure by encrypting your internet connection with a VPN (a virtual private network). A VPN encrypts all the data you send and receive. That means that the encryption transforms your data into an unreadable combination of characters that is impossible to decode without a key.
Furthermore, VPN ensures the security of your data by hiding your IP address and assigning you a new one. Hackers can see the IP address of your VPN server, but not your real location, and they can’t access your browsing history or other information you send.
Besides, VPN can help you access region-specific content or services like Netflix, Hulu, or HBO.
If your Android does not have a built-in VPN, you can download an application from Google Play. You can choose from a variety of paid or free apps.
What about a proxy service? Some believe that it can stand in as an alternative to VPN, but it actually works on an application level rather than securing the entire network. Undeniably, if we were to compare proxy vs. VPN, the latter would win.
2. Set up Two-Factor Authentication
39% of Americans use the same or similar password across all accounts. It is challenging to remember many passwords if you have many online accounts. Yet, this can put all accounts at risk.
A simple password is easy to guess. Hackers can figure out simple combinations or even use password cracking software. Needless to say, if they crack one password, they could easily crack others too. However, it is not enough to use a complex password to protect your valuable accounts, such as Gmail or PayPal.
Two-factor authentication is an additional protective layer to your online accounts. It is easy to set up, and it can increase the safety of both users and businesses. With two-factor authentication, you receive a single-use text message to your phone or an automated call when logging in. Anyone can benefit from this type of authentication. For example, employees can better secure access to the company’s applications and documents.
Ultimately, if you employ two-factor authentication, hackers will need more than your username and password to steal your credit card data or other information.
3. Set up Antivirus Software
Android devices are increasingly vulnerable to malware. Your Android is like a portable computer, and with so much valuable data at stake, you should consider the necessary protection measures.
Malicious software can track your device, download and install malicious apps or expose your sensitive data to a hacker. An anti-virus ensures an extra layer of security by finding and removing malicious apps and files.
Although Google Play Protect checks applications in the store to catch and neutralize malware preemptively, the antivirus can additionally strengthen your Android security.
Malicious software can also target your Android when using browser apps. Luckily, the protective software can alert you about any risky sites or malicious networks. Since hackers use ads for malware spreading, many antivirus apps now come with useful ad-block features too.
If your Android does not have a built-in antivirus, Google Play offers a wide range of options. For example, free apps like AVG AntiVirus and Avast Antivirus.
4. Set up a Lock on Your Device
It is stressful to think someone might be going through your messages when you lose your phone or it gets stolen. You don’t want your children to play with your phone or buy applications without your knowledge, either.
Luckily, modern smartphones have advanced protection features at your service, like biometric authentication. Biometric authentication is fast and convenient if you use your phone every day. It requires a physical feature for identification, like a fingerprint or face features.
Of course, fingerprint authentication provides more security than simple passwords or PINs because no one can guess or brute-force this data. In fact, there is a one in 64 billion chance that your fingerprint will match someone else’s.
Not to mention, entering a PIN or password each time you check your phone can be irritating if you do that frequently.
5. Turn on the ‘Find My Device’ Function
You don’t know when you might lose your device or when it might fall into the wrong hands. In the worst-case scenario, your phone has no PIN or password, and another person can access your social media accounts, emails, or even bank accounts. They can also make pricy calls or send numerous texts.
Such situations can be beyond your control and extremely stressful. Fortunately, the built-in ‘Find my device’ tool lets you find your device no matter where it is. It allows you to locate it remotely, lock it or even delete all the data in case the smartphone is stolen.
If you set up the feature on your phone in advance, you have better chances at finding it if you lose it. So, make sure to enable location services and turn on ‘Find my device’. If you end up losing your phone, you can find it via another phone and tablet, provided that you have the app installed.
If you don’t have another device at hand, you can use the ‘Find my device’ function via the web browser. You can also ask a friend with an Android device to install the Find My Device app and use your Google credentials to help you retrieve your phone.
Secure Android: Conclusion
If you have an Android, consider these simple tips to strengthen your Android security and protect yourself and your data. To maximize the protection and maintain control of your smartphone and its contents, apply all features and tools that are available to you.
User-friendly applications and functions make your Android protection quick and easy without investing a lot of money.
Click here if you'd like to learn more about the new California Data Privacy Law.