Today I’d like to extend my thanks to adonismobile.com for including this article on Android security on their page. Theirs is a great site to catch up on what’s happening right now in the mobile world, from juicy rumors to new tech. If you’re interested in the physical end of device security, consider reading their article about the nearly indestructible Moto X Force.
As you may already be aware, your Android device isn’t immune to cyberattacks. Although cyberattacks are commonly linked to computer use, any device that connects to the internet is susceptible so precautions should always be taken when using your favorite internet-enabled devices. Cyberattacks can not only lead to a total crash of your operating system, but also identity theft and a complete invasion of your privacy.
When dealing with mobile devices, there are a few common ways hackers tend to infiltrate to wreak havoc on your device, but luckily, many of these attacks can be prevented by knowing where they may be slipping through the cracks into your device and utilizing some simple security tips. Here are a few steps you can take to improve the security of your Android device.
Be Wary Of Unfamiliar Downloads
Having access to over 1 million apps in the Google Play Store, many Android users are apt to download new apps that they may not have heard of previously. However, this can be a security risk, as Google cannot always keep up with weeding out malicious apps right when they hit the market and some can contain malware. Unfortunately, even familiar apps can sometimes be an issue as well since they could actually be an illegitimate app posing as the original.
One of the first steps you should take when browsing through apps on Google Play is to read through the reviews. Do any of the reviews mention the app causing problems for their device? Have any complaints been reported?
Whenever possible, consider doing a quick Google search of the name of the app to see if any news articles show up or scam reports. Often if an app has been reported as malicious, there will be a news article or two explaining such (though this isn’t always the case, so still err on the side of caution). Overall, it’s always a good idea to download apps from the Google Play Store versus websites since apps that have been removed from the Play Store because of malware could make their way onto your device if downloaded elsewhere.
Another important step to take when downloading apps is to read through the User Permissions that appear on your screen after you press the “Install” button. Ask yourself whether or not the areas of your device the app wants access to are really feasible based on what the app actually does. If something seems suspicious, it very well could be (or not), which is why you should also consider the advice anti-virus software can offer.
Anti-Virus Apps and Why You Should Have One
Anti-virus apps are available for your Android device for free and can help a lot when it comes to malware prevention. You can also easily remove malware with an anti-virus app and the main appeal is that the app will alert you of dangers to your device. For example, when you download an app, your anti-virus app will automatically scan it for viruses, alerting you if anything suspicious is found.
The sooner you’re aware of the problem, the possibility of removing it before it causes severe damage to your device is more likely. As long as you keep your anti-virus app up to date, it should be able to pick up on most threats, but like anything else, it can’t provide guaranteed protection. Despite that reality, it’s still always better to have an anti-virus on hand.
One anti-virus app that is highly recommended is Avast Mobile Security & Antivirus. This app offers more than the usual anti-virus does, as it’s packed full of anti-theft features that can be extraordinarily useful if your device is ever stolen. Not only will you be able to determine the location of your device, but also lock it, take a photo of the crook and wipe your data clean so your information doesn’t fall into the hands of the thief.
Avast Mobile Security & Antivirus is of course loaded with all of the usual anti-virus features as well.
Additional Security with a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
Although anti-virus apps are particularly important to have, Virtual Private Networks (VPN) will offer a different level of security to your Android device. With a VPN, you can protect your identity while connected to the internet (which your Android device is likely to be the majority of the time). VPNs are remote servers that act as a secure tunnel. All of your internet traffic gets routed through that tunnel, which essentially encrypts your connection and hides your IP address.
When you connect to a VPN, the IP address of the remote server appears instead of your own, hiding your location and making it extremely difficult to pinpoint your identity. Perhaps the most important feature a VPN brings to the table for Android users is the ability to allow you to connect to unsecured internet networks (like public WiFi, for example) without the possibility of hackers spying on them in the process. A VPN makes any internet connection secure because of its encryption and without this, hackers could easily be making their way into your Android device whenever you’re on the go or hanging out in your favorite cafe.
Besides securing your internet connection and assisting you in remaining anonymous online, VPNs help to prevent malware. When paired with an anti-virus app, a VPN can make all the difference in improving the security of your Android device and preventing cyberattacks.
Password Protect ALL The Things!
It can present itself as somewhat of a hassle when you’re not quite used to it, but password protection is one of your main defenses against all sorts of threats to your information. With your Android device, you may want to consider enabling a lock screen password for extra security. Just be sure to include a combination of numbers, symbols, and uppercase and lowercase letters whenever creating your passwords.
You should also make them at least eight characters long and of course, tricky to guess (never use personally identifiable information or single words). For additional security, avoid saving your passwords on your web browser or elsewhere and never reuse them.
Outdated apps and operating systems can present some security risks. The longer specific software has been on the market, the longer hackers have had to determine vulnerabilities in which they could use to their own advantage. Always install updates whenever available to avoid malware, as updates commonly include patches that will make them more secure and less vulnerable to attacks.
The Security of Your Android Device
When it comes to the security of your internet-enabled devices, the most important step you can take is to learn about the threats that could affect your device. Second, you should never leave your device without the proper security software. Not only does it do most of the work for you, but it can prevent a heap of stress and even legal trouble (identity theft can be a very real and unfortunate result of not utilizing internet security tips).
Overall, security is never guaranteed when using the net, but for the most part, cyberattacks and malware can be prevented!