How to Secure Your Android Phone?
- Swetha Y
- Jul 22, 2019
- 1 comment(s)
How to Secure Your Android Phone?
Android is a Linux based mobile operating system currently available on a wide variety of smartphones and tablets. Android Inc. was founded by four developers, Andy Rubin, Rich Miner, Nick Sears and Chris White in 2003 and Googleacquired in 2005. The Android operating system can run on almost all devices such as watches, televisions, cameras and even car stereos. Unlike iOS, Android is open source, meaning developers can modify and customize the OS for each phone.
Therefore, different Android-based Manufacturers (Samsung, Oneplus, Vivo etc) have different Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs) even though they use the same OS. The purest form of Android is referred to as stock android and you can experience stock android experience only from Google phones.
Android’s open-source nature brings various advantages for users and mobile manufacturers/vendors. However, it also faces major security issues. Everyone is more dependent/relying on their smartphones than anything else. People directly or indirectly store all major information on their smartphone. Malicious app makers and hackers use Android’s flexibility nature to steal user’s personal info like password, bank details etc.
Not just that, your smartphones most of the times contain more sensitive data about finance, business, private chats, appointments, family photos, personal data and much more. There’s also the issue of a lost or stolen phone. Your stolen phone in the wrong hands might land you in some serious trouble. Hence the importance of securing your mobile device is essential.
According to a survey by McAfee, 55% of people are not sure how to secure their smartphones. Precaution is always better than cure, so if you haven’t yet secured your Android device, you should now!
To Keep your Android phone secure from hackers, here are the best android security tips
1. Only Install Trusted Apps from the GooglePlay store:
Google build multiple lines of defense in Android to make the internet safer for over billions of users. Google started a feature named Play Protect for the devices running on Marshmallow and above. This is an always-on, always-scanning cloud-based security system that keeps reveiwing apps in the Play Store and on your device. Google will review every app before they published on GooglePlay.
Google uses a variety of methods to check that developers are complying with our policies. If an app violates those policies, it is blocked from Play-store and sometimes the developer is too. There are other alternatives, such as Amazon Underground, and Samsung and other hardware manufacturer app stores. If you find an app you like in other than play-store, check app maker, reviews before Installing them. If you enabled something called “Unknown Sources” (or “Install Unknown Apps” on newer versions of Android).
This setting allows you to install apps that are not from the GooglePlay Store.
To improve security, you should disable this feature.
2. Install A Security/Antivirus App:
Android devices can be infected with malware through a non reliable app. Avoid such attacks from hackers with a robust antivirus app that routinely scans every app in the device. There are many paid and free antivirus softwares available to download from Google Play- store. Choose the right Antivirus software and install to be safe from corrupted apps.
3. Lock Your Phone:
If you’re not using a secure lock screen, it’s time to change that. Android includes a number of locking features to make sure that your data remains secure. User can set a screen lock by going to Settings->Security->Screen lock and choosing among Pattern, PIN or Password.
In addition to these features, Android provides finger print scanning to secure the device. Fingerprint scanners are becoming faster and more accurate in their readings. Latest fingerprint scanners utilise latest technologies like Optical scanners (oneplus 7), Capacitive scanners (pixel-3), Ultrasonic scanners (s10).
4. Enable Find My Device:
Google has a tracking system for Android phones. It’s called Find My Phone, and it should be enabled by default on all modern Android phones. If it is not enabled, navigate into Settings > Google> Security > Find My Phone and enable. If your phone is lost or is stolen, then from web browser search Google for “Find My Phone” and remotely locate your lost device.
5. Check Your App Permissions:
Marshmallow includes iOS-like app permissions, which makes sure you can keep on what info a particular app might be taking. Unlike previous versions of Android, apps on Marshmallow will ask for your permission when they need it and you have the ability to deny an app particular permission. You even have the ability to manage every app’s permission by going to Settings->Apps. In this, you can select an app and then tap on Permissions to disable permission they have. With this feature, you can make sure that an app isn’t taking any info you are unwilling to give.
6. Encrypt The Device:
Google has taken some steps to make your Android device secure and one of those steps include the ability to encrypt your device. There’s an “Encrypt phone” option on Android smartphones that can be found in Settings->Security. This feature encrypts your accounts, settings, downloaded apps, app data, media and other files. The user has to enter a pin and a password to access encrypted data from android device so that even if your device is hacked or stolen, your data will not be accessed until the encryption key is entered.
A VPN, or virtual private network, acts as an extra layer of protection for your browsing, as all your data is passed through an encrypted connection between your phone and the VPN provider’s servers. It sounds rather technical, but using a VPN is quite simple. If the android device is connected to public/free wifi, these wifi`s are vulnerable to hackers who can tunnel into the connection and can view online activity. Using a VPN you can restrict this data breach from hackers.
8. Update your Android Software and apps:
Google releases security patches once a month, and they tackle any new threats and vulnerabilities uncovered since the previous update. You can see the last time your phone received a security update by going to Settings > Security & Lock Screen > Security Update. Frequency of security updates should be a consideration when you're buying a phone. Manufacturers google, nokia, motorola, oneplus get security updates first and guarantee at least three years of security updates. Update your apps as well. Even simple app updates can, on occasion, patch up security problems. Turn on Auto updates and you can avoid the potentially vulnerable, version of one of your favorite apps. You’ll find the Auto update option in Settings > Auto-update Apps.
9. 2-step verification for Google:
Before securing the smartphone, secure Google account because that’s where all your synced data is stored. Secure your Google account by enabling two-factor authentication (2FA) on your Google account.
Two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security for Google account. With 2-Step Verification, Sign in will require password and phone or Security Key you can enable Google’s 2-step verification settings in My Account > 2-Ste.p Verification.
10. links in SMS/whatsapp:
Be careful about links in SMS messages that purport to be from your bank, and ask you to log in to your account which asks you to pay a small sum in order to continue using the service, and then promptly nicks your card details. The best way to deal with these scams isn't a security option on your phone or a piece of software – you simply need to use common sense and be very suspicious of any unsolicited messages you receive.