It is sometimes easy to overlook the importance of ensuring our smartphones are secure. We all know that our laptops and desktops need to be equipped with anti-virus protection, firewalls, and various other tools.

But too many people still get swept up in the excitement of new apps and functions, and overlook the importance of downloading the right security tools as well.

Yet as smartphones become more and more ubiquitous, so they are being targeted ever more by hackers and cyber-criminals who see another window into your personal data and financial information.

The stats can be quite scary at times when people actually take a look at the security vulnerabilities in an Android phone. For example, it was recently reported that the new Quadrooter attack could put as many as 900 million Android phones at risk.

Then there is the story that researchers have demonstrated a 92% success rate in hacking Android apps. I could list more.

The core facts are equally as disconcerting. In 2014, there were more than a million recorded breaches of smartphones in the USA – the actual total number will have been much higher. In the same year, 5.2 million smartphones were lost in the USA alone. And it has also been reported that 25% of Android phones encounter a threat at least once a month.

Yet despite all the evidence, we are still using our unsecured smartphones to do communicate sensitive information, do online banking, and also indulge in things like online shopping.

All of these put potentially sensitive information at risk, and with Cyber-Monday having just passed, there is no better time to think about securing your Android device.

There are no end of different security apps on the market for Android users and it can sometimes be hard for users to work out which is the right one for them. Which is why we have put together an expert guide on how to hack-proof your Android in 2016:

Use a Passcode

Too many people disregard the option of putting a passcode on their Android device because it is too much of a hassle to enter it every time they want to use it.

But a passcode is an essential security tool and every Android user should make use of it, without exception. We would also strongly advise you to opt for a six-digit code rather than a four-digit one. A four-digit code can be cracked by a hacker in a relatively short time, but a six-digit code can take months. This means most hackers will give up and move onto to someone else’s device.

For an inconvenience for just a couple of seconds, you can vastly increase the security of your device.

Use a Privacy Screen Protector

As high-tech as some hackers are, the old-fashioned approach is still surprisingly effective, and there are still plenty of thieves out there who will pee over your shoulder to steal your information as you are using your Android device.

The best way to protect against this is to use a Privacy Screen protector. These are like slightly thicker screen covers with ridges that mean only the person looking straight at the device can read what’s on the screen.

They don’t effect functionality at all and do protect against one of the most common types of security vulnerability.

Use a Firewall

We all use firewalls on our desktops and laptops, but a worryingly small number do on their smartphone.

Everybody should have a Firewall on their Android device though as they offer a vital security wall to protect your device and your data from the threat of hackers.

There are lots on the market, and different ones will be right for different users, but no matter which one you go for, be sure to get one.

Use a VPN

Last, but by no means least, every Android user should be running a VPN. A VPN will encrypt all of your online traffic making everything you do online secure from hackers and other prying eyes.

It will also redirect all your traffic via an external server which will render you anonymous online and so greatly enhance your online privacy.

There are other perks too, such as enabling you to watch geo-restricted content no matter where in the world you are, and put together the benefits make the small price of a VPN one of the best investments you will make on your Android device.

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