Android devices have had some new additions during 2016, like the new Google Pixel phones, to continue its dominance as a leading OS. However, the system does have vulnerabilities, and users should learn how to secure their Android smartphones.
Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL), has continuously enhanced security for its OS. This is why the company made a key protection feature via its “Application Sandbox” toolkit. It ensures that if a user accidentally opens a malware, the system will forbid the virus to access any other apps in the device.
Still, smartphones are a gateway to the online identity of a person. Hackers could track and download all of the information and share it with the World Wide Web if the user is not careful enough. And the only one who can protect their data is the owner.
Basic security tips to protect your data
The first thing to do is set a screen lock and encryption on the mobile device. There are various types of screen locks available such as a pin, pattern, face unlocks and password pin. Android 4.0 Jelly Bean onwards offer encryption options on the Screen menu under Settings. To check the OS version, users can go to General, and then hit “About Phone.”
Similarly, users can lock apps with private information via free programs like App Lock. This second layer of security should prevent anyone from using the device if they have breached the lock-screen password.
Next advice is to avoid saving all important passwords on the device or online services, especially when it comes to payment apps or bank accounts. Users should also avoid public WiFi while doing important things like online banking.
On the same note, users can download mobile security apps like Avast! Mobile Security, AVG Antivirus, Antity AVL, or Avira Antivirus Security. Lastly, if the user shares an Android tablet with other family members, he should enable multiple user accounts to ensure privacy. The option is under the Settings->Users section.
Google’s tools to improve Android security
Android security options are on the Settings menu. Notably, there is an option that allows data encryption of onboard or microSD storage. There is also a “Verify Apps” option on Android devices to automatically scan all apps for malware before or after the user downloads it from the Play Store.
On Android 4.2 or higher, the option is on Settings->Security->Verify apps. On Android lower than 4.2, users may go to settings menu and navigate to Google Settings->Verify Apps.
On that regard, before installing any app from the store, owners should read the permissions to make sure they correspond to what the app does. For example, a game should not have access to the gallery, or an alarm clock does not require permission to the text messages.
Wipe and recovery
Last advice is to set up a Google account on the device and sync it to the user’s smartphone. That way, if the user loses the phone, he could remotely locate it, lock it, ring, or erase all data via Android Device Manager.
Users can find and activate the device manager on the security menu. Then, they can only write “Find my phone” on Google’s search tab to access the last resort security options.