The Complete Android Security Guide

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Advancement in the world of mobile technology has its pros and cons. On one hand, it promises to bring more luxury; on the other hand, it risks your safety on internet. A decade ago, hardly anyone knew what a smartphone was. And as of today, 84% of handset sales are those of smartphones. Such is the impact of technology.
Android phones lead the chart when it comes to the world of smartphones, which consequently makes them more vulnerable to security threats. According to a research, 99% of malicious malwares are designed specifically to target Android devices.

Android security

Security Lapse Concerns for the Android Users

The dilemma of security lapse never seems to go away for Android users, largely because it is widely used by an increasing volume of smartphone users around the world. Android users face several security threats, out of which the major ones are:

  1. Hackers trying to access your personal information through various adverts.
  2. Allowing applications to access your location, personal messages, photos and videos.
  3. Installing apps with poor SSL security, making you vulnerable to malware.

Android Malware

Combatting the Threats to Android Security

There are several ways to strengthen your Android security and fight off the demons of cybercrimes. The tips and techniques are simple but have been proven to be very effective.

Taking these preventive measures in order to protect your device’s security will not require any extra effort, but will save you the trouble of becoming a victim.

1. Ignore the Pop-Up Ads

If there is anything in the world that should be given the least attention, it is a pop-up ad. Always refrain from clicking on pop-ups while using applications on your Android.

Pop-ups can range from tempting offers to notifications warning you of impending doom if you don’t install a specific application. For instance, a pop-up from a Google approved application may lead you to an unsecure website and direct you to download malware. In essence, Google can guarantee that the app is secure, but can’t control what it convinces you to buy/download and where it takes you in the process.

2. To Download or Not to Download?

To put it in simple words, “When in doubt, don’t download”. But if you are hell-bent on downloading the third party apps, make sure to download and install only reputable third-party apps.

A great way to go about is to start by identifying apps that have good reviews. An added bonus is if you see that they have been updated within the last year. Frequent updates keep apps bug free and tuned for optimal functioning.

Also, once you find a decent app, look for other apps developed by the same companies/developer instead of searching randomly in the app library.

3. Say No to Other App Stores

Never download something from any other App Store. Use Google Play for downloading the apps, it is safe and ensures great security to the users. Downloading apps from other App Stores might land you in trouble.

Android is such a huge platform that it is practically impossible to scan each and every application, leaving a margin for hackers and phishers to exploit.

Google makes sure that all the apps on Google Play are thoroughly checked, so you’re safe there, but other App Stores (of which there are now countless) do not promise the same, exposing regular users to various Android security threats.

4. Deny the Erratic App Permissions

Do NOT, in any case, allow the apps to access your personal information like Photos, Videos, Personal Messages and Passwords. If the app is genuine, it will only ask for access to the relevant material. Granting the access to such applications put you and your device under serious security risks.

Take the following case for example. This is the list of access permissions requested by an app called Brightest Flashlight Free.

A flashlight app does not need access to your storage, location, camera, phone calls and network communication! All it has to do is to switch your phone’s LED on and off. The worst part is that this app is listed on GooglePlay. NEVER install an app like this!

In comparison, take this game as an ideal case. A game called “Sea Battle” is asking for ZERO access permissions; which makes perfect sense! It is an independent app that is not meant for any communication and/or any sharing of data.

 

5. Get a Mobile Security App

You can reduce the potential malware and hacking threats to a great deal by installing a security app in your smartphones and tabs. It works as a shield and protects you from unwanted viruses and malwares. You can find many security apps on Google Play where both (paid and free) anti-viruses are available.

I personally prefer to go for mobile security apps developed by anti-virus companies that have reliable and trusted security apps for desktop users. It helps to know that they have experience in fighting off malware, viruses and worms; and that there is a fully functioning infrastructure working in the background.

6. Multiple User Accounts

Android has introduced the new feature of creating Multiple User Accounts on Jelly Bean. If you own a shared device and you are concerned about your privacy, you can create a guest account for the other users and protect your account with a password.

This is much like how you would setup guest and administrator user profiles on your desktop. System-wide settings such as WiFi and brightness will remain constant through all accounts, but customizable content (such as the wallpaper and media in the Gallery) will be user restricted.

7. Lock Your Messages and Gallery

You can find many apps on Google Play that are designed to provide enhanced privacy by locking access to specific applications. Download them and lock your Messages and Gallery with password protection.

These privacy lock apps are usually very versatile and allow you to place access locks on any application of your choice (that you think contains sensitive and confidential information). Remember to place a different password on every application you place under lock down.

8. Get a FaceLock App

Facial recognition is now mainstream, and thanks to this increased accessibility, you can now use FaceLock to lock your applications with your face instead of passwords, patterns or PINs.

Download any FaceLock app on your Android smartphone/tab to take the security of your device to a whole new level. You can search the FaceLock Apps on Google Play and download them on your smartphones (depending upon the compatibility). Some of the apps are paid but they are definitely worth their price!

9. Equip Your Smartphones and Tabs with a VPN

Always use a VPN when you are connected to a public Wi-Fi. It provides great security to its users and encrypts the data to make sure the data is free from the likes of cybercriminals and online surveillance agencies.

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Faisal is a professional blogger at BestVPNService. A close observer of the digital world, Faisal critically monitors and reviews service providers of IT industry, particularly VPNs.

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