Android devices and security concerns seem to go hand in hand. We’ve all heard tales of woe relating to malware, phishing attacks and hacked phones. Despite the stories, Android as an operating system is considered relatively secure. However, that certainly doesn’t mean we should ignore the topic of Android security.
The largest threat factor when it comes to your device and connected accounts is you! If you download unauthorized and malware-infected software or apps from external sources, you will only have yourself to blame.
Your Android phone’s security is your own responsibility. Thankfully, there is plenty you can do to keep your Android phone as secure as possible.
Want to know more? Then let’s get into it.
How Secure Is Android?
Android as an operating system is vastly secure. No operating system is completely invulnerable, but Android offers multiple layers of protection against malicious software. Specific permission requirements play an important role in this. Android is an open system that is built on trust. It has multiple layers to protect against any harm, but ultimately it will be your responsibility what you let inside your device.
Android was created as an open-source system and mostly left open so it can be modified and customized with specific permissions. Obviously, hackers can profit from that openness. Based on the open-source system, cybercriminals can write malicious programs for Android, creating backdoor software. They can even fake a real application, since there are options to download and install apps to Android from outside the Google Play Store.
As there are more Android phones than any other type, hackers tend to make them a priority.
Most Important Security Steps
1. Lock the Screen
Locking your screen is the most effective way to protect the vulnerable data stored within your phone and connected accounts.There are plenty of options like PIN lock, pattern and password lock, as well as fingerprint or eye-scanner in some devices. Don’t be lazy – if the option to lock your screen exists, use it!
2. Use Strong Passwords
This is a no-brainer. A password isn’t worth much if it’s weak, clingy and logical. When creating a password, make sure it consists of at least 10 characters including capitals, numbers, punctuation marks and special characters. Don’t worry about how you’ll remember them – there are many password managers like Last Pass that can help you organize all of your passwords. You just have to remember one master password.
3. Encrypt Your Device
When it comes to security, Android device encryption is often overlooked. With encryption, you can add another layer of security to your files. To do this, simply go to Settings – Security – Encrypt Device and follow the instructions. It’s not difficult and can definitely save your data.
4. Enable Two-factor Authentication (2FA)
Multi-step or two-factor authentication (2FA) is a method of keeping your connected accounts safe as well as your files. When you try to sign in to your account, a password won’t be enough. You’ll also need a time-sensitive code that you enabled previously with 2FA. This code can arrive as a text message or sometimes as a phone call. There are other forms of 2FA, like the ones that use a retina or fingerprint scanner. That way, no one can break into your account without you present. Sounds secure, right? Well, it is.
5. Install Only the Most Trusted Apps
This is the most important way to keep malicious apps out of your phone. Most (if not all) malware and virus infected applications come from third party sources, since Google is constantly improving its Play Store.
The Google Play Protect feature can scan your Android phone for malware when you install an application, so it’s considered safe for a reason. But with third party applications from untrusted sources, anything can happen. Overall, it’s up to you what you install on your device, so be careful and install apps only from the Google Play Store.
6. Use a Virtual Private Network
A secure network connection is just as important as the security of your device. We’re all tempted when we notice a free Wi-Fi spot. However, public Wi-Fi is not the safest network connection. With a VPN, your internet communication gets encrypted for maximized privacy. Luckily, many VPNs are available for Android, so you can make sure your network is safe and secure.
7. Consider Using Reliable Antivirus Software
This is the last step for a reason. If you’ve gone through all of the steps above, you can already consider your device safe. As such, adding anti malware/antivirus software is an optional step and based on your personal preference. Before installing antivirus software, think about what additional benefit it will provide you with.
With these insights into Android security, you can see that there is plenty you can do to maximize thesafety of your device and its data. By implementing these steps,you can increase the security of your Android phone and make sure you keep yourself safe from malicious threats.