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If you’re one of the 2.3 billion Android users populating the globe today, chances are you’re already aware of the multiple security vulnerabilities that plague the Android platform. Whether it’s the discovery of a bug that enables hackers to inject malicious code into your beloved smartphones or a shady application that you downloaded from a third-party app store, the sooner you accept the threats that surround your Android mobile phone, the better. 

The arsenal of the threats that encapsulate the majority of Android mobile phones might be enough to pay attention to Android security. Protecting our smartphones from the ever-evolving threat landscape becomes an utmost priority. Considering the monumental amount of sensitive information that we store on our Android phones, it is high time that Android users take the necessary steps required to take their phone’s security to the next level. 

If you’re one of the few security-conscious folks, who were looking for ways to elevate their Android smartphone’s security, then you’ve come to the right place by clicking on this article. This article shares some tips which boost Android smartphone security and enable users to make the most out of their smartphone experience. 

Security Tip #1: Setting up a complex screen lock

If you’re familiar with hacking in the slightest, then you probably know about the significance of the screen lock that you set up. If you’ve utilized an easy-to-guess passcode, such as your date of birth or (god forbid) your name, you might as well send a handwritten invitation to a cybercriminal, informing them of all the data you’re giving up. 

Although using an easy-to-guess password is a rookie mistake that, unfortunately, several Android users tend to make, it can still be rectified. To prevent hackers from gaining unwanted access to your Android smartphone, make sure that you steer away from any obvious information while setting up your screen lock password. Avoid using your name or the names of your loved ones. Moreover, no matter the circumstance, never rely on passwords such as “iloveyou” or “123456” since they are among the most frequently hacked passwords.  

Instead of relying on overused, cliched passwords and codes, opt for alphanumeric words and phrases, which contain a healthy mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, symbols, and special characters. A helpful piece of information to aid you in creating the best passcodes is to be as random as possible.

If you haven’t enabled any screen lock, you can configure it by heading over to Settings and selecting a screen lock as per your personal preferences. Once you’ve set up your screen lock, you must enable the “Automatic Lock” option, which ensures that your screen locks after a specific time has elapsed. However, users may also allow biometric verification, such as facial or fingerprint recognition, and devise a solid password as a backup with more recent phones. 

Security Tip #2: Enabling “Find My Device”

In the highly probable instance that you find your Android smartphone stolen or lost, you must enable the “Find My Device” feature on your phone to regain control of your rogue device. This spectacular feature offered by Google equips Android users with the ability to pinpoint the exact location of their phone, whether it’s miles away in another city or quaintly tucked away under the bed- this feature has got you covered.

In addition to locating your phone’s whereabouts, the “Find My Device” feature also allows users to completely wipe data from their device, which prevents it from being exploited by any malicious parties. If you haven’t already enabled this handy-dandy feature on your Android smartphone, all you need to do is sign in to your Google account, switch location on, and allow the service. 

Once you’ve enabled the feature on your smartphone, you can then use it via a web browser or its application to locate your device, play a sound, or permanently erase all data present on the device. 

Security Tip #3: Encrypting your smartphone

Although it is a fairly well-established fact that encryption is a critical step towards better cybersecurity, it is rare to see Android smartphone owners encrypt their phones’ content. Device encryption comes in particularly handy when your smartphone has been stolen or has somehow found its way into the hands of a bad actor. By utilizing device encryption, users can ensure that none of their sensitive data falls into the wrong hands, or worse, is sold on shady forums on the dark web. 

Fortunately, Android mobile sets operating on Lollipop OS or higher already have the option of encryption built-in. If you’re using an older Android set, you can still manually configure device encryption by going to the “Security” tab in your Settings. Once you’ve enabled this option, you can continue to enjoy your Android experience without having to worry about your data falling into the hands of malicious third parties. 

Security Tip #4: Scrutinizing app permissions

With a whopping 2.96 million applications hosted by the Google Play Store, you must analyze the permissions that most of these apps require. Instead of accepting whatever shady terms and conditions get thrown your way, you must scrutinize why some apps need the permissions that they ask for. 

Let’s consider the example of a photo editing app. If the application requests to access your picture gallery, it makes perfect sense. However, if the exact app requests access to your contact list, you might want to sound the cybersecurity alarms. If an application requests access to an unrelated feature, there’s a high probability of sleazy data mining being carried out behind the scenes. 

To enhance the security of your Android smartphone, you need to exercise caution while granting permission to the apps that you download, particularly with applications that are developed by sketchy developers who might try to sneak their way into your confidential data. You can configure the permissions you’ve granted to apps by clicking on Settings > Apps > Permissions, where you can revoke all permissions that you aren’t entirely comfortable with. 

Parting Words

In addition to the security tips mentioned above, you can also opt for alternative locking methods to boost your Android smartphone security and take it to new, unprecedented heights. Hopefully, this article proves to be the nudge that readers need to exercise better cybersecurity practices regularly with that out of the way. 

Featured Image: Photo by Mikhail Nilov from Pexels

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