It comes as no surprise that the technology we use can make us a target for cyber-attacks and viruses if not secured properly. When it comes to mobile device use, there are no guidelines that come with a phone to teach mobile user security. As a consequence, threats are always evolving and changing based on our habits.
If you are new to Android, you should make sure it’s properly secured for your needs. New versions of Android possess several security tools built-in while they require users to configure some of the most essential items during upgrades and setups; it’s worth checking them every so often too.
Read on to learn about some essential built-in security features and some extra security steps you can take for your Android.
Apps Permissions A rarely discussed topic regarding Android security is that your own indifference – either in failing to correctly secure your phone in some way or in leaving open too many tabs that allow third-party apps to access your info – is way more likely to cause you security problems than any manner of malware or scary-sounding cybercriminal.
So, let’s shed some light on things nobody ever discusses, shall we? Contrary to many inexperienced beliefs, Android apps can never access your data or any part of your device unless you explicitly allow them to. And while you can go back in time to “undo” anything that has already happened, you can access all your app permissions to make sure everything runs smoothly and safely.
Security experts recommend doing this periodically, particularly now – as recent Android versions included some important new app permission options. Users can now let apps access location whenever they’re actively in use, and not all the time, and approve specific permissions only on a one-time, limited-uses basis. However, any apps that were already on your device by the time those upgrades arrived would have already had unrestricted access to those areas of your Android. And it’s your duty to revisit those apps and update their settings as needed.
- Google Play Protect
Since we’re all out and about apps, this is the right time to talk about Google Play Protect – the Android security systems, as you already know, continuously scans your device for any signs of mischievous apps and warn you if anything suspicious appears. It’s not always effective, as sometimes fails to detect misleading marketing campaigns – but even so, the real-world threat to most Android users is typically quite small.
Unless you disable it at some point, Play Protect should be up and running on your device already – but it definitely pays to double-check and make sure. To do so, you should access your device system setting. Enter “Google Play Protect”, then access the gear icon in the upper-right corner and make sure all the toggles are on.
- Smart Lock
Android security tools can be quite useful if you know how and want to use them. But it sometimes seems that with the extra level of a nuisance that places onto our lives, it’s all too easy to get lazy and let our guard down after a while.
The Smart Lock feature is meant to make security a bit less annoying. Android’s Smart Lock lets you automatically keep your device unlocked whenever you’re at home or wherever you feel safe. To activate this feature, enter the “Security” section of your system settings to explore the possibilities.
- Surf the Web Using a VPN
An extra layer of security is always positively received. If you’re planning to use your Android for streaming services, there’s some good news for you: VPNs are no longer the exclusive domains of bulky desktops and bloated software clients. Now you can find numerous VPN services that are lightweight, straightforward, and mobile-friendly.
While it might be tempting to reach for free services, the best and the safest way to surf the web anonymously is to use reliable VPN services that are compatible with your Android device. Oftentimes some added vigilance can be the difference between a fluid experience and a security nightmare.
- Don’t Ignore the Two-factor Authentication.
This in-build security feature it’s a Google account feature very much connected to Android and your overall smartphone security picture.
Perhaps you’ve heard about two-factor authentication features by now, right? Most likely you’re using it everywhere you can – especially on your Google account, which is associated with all types of sensitive data? Right?
In case you’ve totally ignored it, now’s the time to reconsider your whim. Plunge in the Google section of your device system setting, enter “Manage Your Google Account,” then scroll to select the “Security” section.
Tap on the “2-step Verification and follow the steps to set things up. Security experts recommend using your device “Security Key” option as the default method if that’s accessible, followed by “Google prompts”.
In doing so, you will add an extra step into your sign-in process and realize that a small nuisance is very much deserving of the tradeoff for improved security and protection.
- Prepare a Backup of Your Data
In the information era, a backup of your valuable data is a must-have in the day and age of smart devices. Imagine the worst that would happen if your Android device gets hacked or stolen. As a last resort, you can perform a remote wipe. But without a backup, you will lose all your data on your device.
Even after you recover your stolen device, the chances are that those who managed to access your smartphone will render it useless. A backup, however, can still restore your device back to its original state.
Another extra layer of protection would be to track your lost device. Today, as the smartphone industry would have it, your device is meant to be trackable through a GPS. The thing is, you need to enable GPS on your device for it to be tracked. Do not fret because there are a plethora of device-tracking apps for Android that can help you locate your stolen or lost smartphone.