Mobile devices are highly susceptible to cyberattacks. As the most popular mobile OS, Android is a prime target for hackers. Securing your Android device is a multi-step process that includes several security measures.
Here are the main conditions your Android needs to meet before you can consider it “secure”:
You consistently update software
Hackers and developers are in a constant cat-and-mouse chase to detect and exploit vulnerabilities. Unfortunately, developers are usually one step behind and are forced to release updates to address the latest security flaws targeted by hackers.
Whether it’s your operating system or the apps you use, ensure that everything is up-to-date. Using outdated apps will allow hackers to exploit old vulnerabilities to breach your device.
The easiest way to never forget to update your software is to enable automatic updates. Doing so will allow you to install updates as soon as they’re available.
Your data is encrypted
Encrypting your data can be helpful if your device is stolen, lost, or breached by a hacker. Most modern phones have encryption enabled or have features to enable data encryption.
If your phone is stolen, no one will be able to see sensitive data you may have, like photos or personal information. Unfortunately, they may still be able to reset the phone and use it, but your data will be deleted.
To prevent data loss, you can back it up on an encrypted cloud service. This way, you can access your data securely from any device, as it will be available on the cloud.
You use strong passwords
Setting strong passwords for all apps and services you use will make it much more difficult for attackers to do damage.
Thankfully, most apps have strict guidelines for users when they’re setting up passwords, such as:
- Using a certain number of characters (usually at least 8 or 12).
- Having a combination of lower-case and upper-case letters.
- Adding numbers and special characters.
To unlock your phone:
- Set up Touch or Face ID so nobody but you can enter.
- If you have an older phone, set up an unlock code.
- Avoid using personal information like your birthday for the unlock code.
You never save passwords
Another condition that applies to passwords is to never save account passwords through built-in browser or system features.
Sure, saving your passwords is convenient as it allows for quick account access. Still, the risks far outweigh the benefits. Advanced viruses can steal entire lists of saved passwords, putting all of your accounts at the mercy of attackers.
One way to save your passwords securely is by using a password manager.
You avoid using public networks
When necessary, connecting to public networks every once in a while shouldn’t be a problem. However, if you’re constantly connected to public, unprotected networks, threat actors have a significantly higher chance to breach your phone and steal your data.
An attacker can easily position themselves between your device and an unprotected network. If this happens, you’ll essentially be sending information directly to the attacker.
If you must use a public network, connect to a VPN beforehand. A VPN will encrypt your communication with the server and hide your IP address.
You never root your phone
Rooting is a popular practice among Android users. It allows for more customization and installing apps outside the Google Play Store. However, these capabilities are what make rooting dangerous.
Once your device is rooted, the security components within Android become compromised, leading to many vulnerabilities in the system. Without Android’s control, root apps have way more access to your device’s system. Not to mention, your warranty instantly becomes void.
Additionally, malware is more likely to penetrate if your device is rooted. Malware can take over your phone and extract all sorts of valuable data. More advanced malware can even execute commands on your behalf.
Most notifications and permissions are blocked
Tapping “allow” on every prompt that asks for permission to access your data has become a habit. Yet, very few people know what they agree to. Review all permissions you’re giving to each app and determine whether they’re necessary for what the app does. Chances are, you’re giving most apps way more access than they need to function correctly.
Notifications can also be problematic. You may accidentally tap them, leading you to an unprotected website or prompting a suspicious download. Only allow notifications from apps with verified publishers.
Android is the most popular phone OS worldwide. As such, it’s a major target for threat actors who want to exploit users for their data. It’s critical to employ best practices to secure your Android device.
By meeting the conditions mentioned in this article, you will protect your device and all its data in case of a data breach, theft, or loss.
EDITOR NOTE: This is a promoted post and should not be considered an editorial endorsement
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio