Mobile security is one of the most important things we overlook when using our devices. We tend to leave it up to Google to manage it, or we simply are too lazy to keep our phones safe by enabling the tools given to us.
Identity theft affects millions of people globally. Even phone theft has been on the rise every year and too many of us don’t do enough to keep our information safe. All it takes is one time. Leave your phone in a restaurant unlocked, and the person who finds it can factory reset your device and use it as their own. Even worse, they can access all of your personal information and pictures.
We’ve gathered a selection of basic tips that every single one of you should be using. If you’re already aware of these tips, then good on you, and pass them on to someone you know who isn’t aware.
Protect your device and data
Secure your device by setting a screen lock with a PIN, password, or pattern. Each time you turn on your device or wake up the screen, you’ll be asked to unlock your device. Go to Settings > Security > Screen lock.
If your device is running Android 5.0 or higher, you can also choose to have your device automatically unlock when you have it with you using Smart Lock for Android.
Set a fingerprint lock
Many of the latest phones have integrated fingerprint readers and are accurate. They’re also much easier to use than passwords and can only be used by you.
Go to Settings> Security> Fingerprints.
Be prepared if you ever lose your phone by confirming Android Device Manager is set up on your device. Make sure to sign in with your Google Account and turn on “Remotely locate this device” and “Allow remote lock and erase.”
You can also try out the “find my phone” feature so you know how it works in case you need it in the future.
You can put your contact information (like an email address or phone number you don’t mind sharing) on the lock screen so you can get a missing device back if someone finds it and wants to contact you. Set this up in Settings > Security > Owner info.
Backups make it easier to recover your information and apps if your device is lost, stolen, or damaged. Learn how to back up data such as your photos, Wi-Fi passwords, and music.
Encryption helps keep your data safe if you lose your device. Nexus 6 and Nexus 9 devices are encrypted by default. If your Android device is running Jelly Bean (Android 4.1) or higher, you can encrypt the data on your device in Settings > Security > Encrypt phone.
Tip: If you’re planning to sell your device, you can encrypt it as an additional precaution before erasing your information from it (also known as doing a factory data reset).
Use Android Device Manager to locate, remotely lock, or erase your device
Follow the steps to use Android Device Manager to remotely locate, lock, or ring your device. You can also use it to erase the information from your lost device.
Check your Gmail account’s security
If you think your Gmail account has been compromised, follow the steps to check your account’s security or recover your account.
Stay safe online & with apps
Some apps can affect your device’s security, so only download them from places you trust. We work to make sure that all apps available on Google Play pass stringent policy checks, including checks for potentially harmful behavior.
If you have Google Play installed, you’re automatically protected from potentially harmful apps with the Verify Apps feature. It’s turned on by default and warns you before you install an application we believe is potentially harmful. It’ll also check your device about once a week for potentially harmful apps. If you see a warning from Verify Apps, we recommend not installing that app.
Be aware of risks if you download apps from unknown sources
If you want to download an app from a different source, the Unknown Sources feature on your device allows you to install apps from outside of the Google Play Store. This feature is disabled by default, but you can manage your settings at any time.
Before you install an app from an unknown source, first consider:
- Is the app from a trusted source? What made you sure it’s from a trusted brand?
- Does it offer a service that could include hidden fees?
- Is it asking for sensitive information or device permissions you wouldn’t give to a stranger?
If you’re unsure about any of these questions, we recommend that you don’t install the app. If you do install the app, we recommend disabling Unknown Sources again after you’re done.
2-step verification protects your account with both a password and a code from your phone. This extra layer of protection protects you in case someone has your password.
Although most ads are safe, you can potentially affect your device by touching or opening banners or pop-ups. Beware of anything that claims that your phone is infected or asks for your password or personal information — you could accidentally download unwanted or potentially harmful applications or give someone you don’t trust access to your account.