The number of devices running on the Android operating system has increased over the last couple of years. As a result, Android devices have become a common target for hackers looking to exploit vulnerabilities in the system and steal personal data. While Android developers have made impressive improvement in their in-built security features, users still need to take certain precautions to protect their Android devices.
Moreover, hackers are increasingly becoming more efficient and lethal in executing their threats. Today, cybercriminal employ more complex and effective hacks that could be difficult to recover from. However, most of these threats can be effectively mitigated by taking the right countermeasures. Here are the top tips that you can use to protect your Android device:
Use an Effective Mobile Antivirus
Although you can operate your Android without antivirus, it’s always good not to take chances with your security. Install an effective mobile antivirus on your Android device. You will find several free antivirus software for mobile devices, but don’t be scammed into believing that they can protect your device for free. Any free service always has some hidden means of making money anyhow. Try to use premium antivirus versions from reputable providers like Avast, Kaspersky, and Eset Nod32.
Use Android VPN
As you browse the internet using your Android device, you expose your IP address. Hackers could use that to track your online activities. Your Android needs a VPN to create a secure, encrypted connection to the internet and keep off prying eyes from seeing what you do online. A VPN (Virtual private network) is an effective tool that guarantees privacy and security online. It typically tunnels your internet traffic through a highly-encrypted connection to safeguard your Android device.
Once your connection is routed to the other side of the server, your online traffic will come out without a sign of your location or your identity. A VPN has several other benefits like unblocking restricted online content. For example, streaming websites like YouTube, Hulu, and Netflix often restrict their services to certain geographical regions. With Android VPN, you can circumvent those restrictions and access online content from wherever you are.
Avoid Rooting Your Phone
When you root your Android phone, you open a window for hackers to inject malware code into your system root files. That way, you won’t tell if your private data is going to scammers over the internet. With Android’s new technology, you don’t need to root your phone, unless you’re an expert in that. Most phones nowadays come with adequate memory space and you will not likely face issues with CPU, RAM, or storage space.
Disable Background Data
The background data is often enabled by default on your Android phone. That means that your Android phone will continue to run various apps on the background even if you don’t click anything. Always restrict background data so that any app on your phone won’t send and receive information from the internet without your consent. Hackers often make use of some apps to retrieve data from your phone.
Backup your Android Data
If your Android phone gets hacked by coincidence, you risk losing your valuable data. You should back up your data such as contacts, call history, apps, and settings to help you restore your device in case of a security attack. You can do that through flashing ROM or factory reset. Even if you choose to purchase a new phone, you can easily transfer the data to your new phone.
Disable Unknown Source
Android phones come with this feature disabled by default. You should not install apps from unknown sources to ensure the security of your Android device. However, if you have to install a third-party app from a trusted SD Card Storage, you can enable this feature and disable it back immediately you’re through with the installation. Google Play Store is the recommended platform for downloading Android apps. It’s because Google always does some safety check on apps before allowing them on the platform. If they detect anything suspicious, the app is removed from the Google Play Store.
Check Allowed Permissions
Always take note of the permissions a newly-installed app is asking for. Most users just tap the allow button all through without thinking about the additional permissions they are rendering to the app. For example, if you are installing an app for playing videos, the only necessary permission is “Storage.” If it requests for additional permissions like Location, Camera, SMS, Phone, Contacts, Microphone, etc, you shouldn’t allow them. Only allow the important permissions that are required to run the app and disable the rest. Some apps can quickly get access to your Android hardware without your consent, which is a loophole that hackers can exploit. For example, an app can take your picture, record your voice, or even send your phone contact list to third parties without your knowledge.
Avoid Searching Pirated Content
Using pirated content can expose your Android phone to hacking. When you download pirated content in the form of movies, premium apps, videos, music, etc, many sites will try to install malware alongside the content. More often, you experience a lot of popping messages after downloading pirated content. Your phone may also start vibrating uncontrollably. In some instances, a pop up like “Your Android is infected” may appear on your screen and prompt you to clean the virus. If you click on the “clean virus” button, you will be typically downloading and installing malware. Afterward, hackers will have open access to your Android phone. So, avoid downloading pirated content at all costs.
Update your Android Regularly
Android often releases software updates from time to time. These updates contain the latest security patches and bug fixes that can protect your device from emerging threats. If you fail to update your phone regularly, you’ll be subjecting yourself to new security threats that cannot be mitigated by outdated software. To update your Android, go to settings and roll all the way down to System or About Phone. Check if there is a new security patch and update it immediately. The latest Android devices will, however, prompt you on your screen to update your system.
Android is currently the most popular mobile operating system, and that is why it has become a popular target for hackers. Since you keep a lot of sensitive information on your smartphone, it’s important to observe security best practices to safeguard yourself from cyber attacks. Fortunately, the above tips should help you secure your Android device.