The Smartphone world is divided into two: Apple and Android.
I, for one, has a leg on both sides. I love Apple devices, especially the iPhone, for everything that it is. But I always incline the wallet-friendly variants of smartphones.
Holding onto something without dropping it is not my area of expertise. I have what is popularly referred to as “butterfingers.” I am that person who regularly drops or fails to keep hold of things.
Imagine having to repair or replace an iPhone now and then. I will go bankrupt. But, Android phones, on the other hand, are not a threat to my financial solvency. They are affordable. Also, there are so many choices to drown oneself in.
But, like all good things that have a dark side to them, Android has some downsides as well. It is infamous for its security threats. Android is an open-source mobile platform. That gives almost everyone easy access to infiltrate the system with malware apps. And trust me, despite Google’s best efforts, there is no shortage of malware apps in the Play store.
The onus is upon you and me ‘ the users to put up defenses and secure our Android phones.
Being the nerdy guy that I am, I drilled deeper to find some easy ways to secure Android phone. It turns out there are built-in functions that we can use right away. In case you never knew before, this could be a great time to secure your devices.
1. Enable two-factor authentication
Your Android phone works with your Google account. So, it is wise to start with securing the Google account. If you are someone like me who uses Google on laptop, mobile, and tablet ‘ you must turn on two-factor authentication.
It is an added layer of security over and above password that prevents unauthorized users from accessing your account. It works by giving an OTP or a security check on the system before granting access.
2. Set up recovery email address & phone number
What if you forget your Google password? What if you get locked out of your account? Relax, there is a way to ensure your Google account is not lost forever. You can set up a recovery email address and phone number in your Google account. The recovery email, along with the password reset option, will be sent to this email id or phone number. Think of these two details as a duplicate key in case you lose the original one.
You can set up a recovery email address and phone number by heading over to My Account in Google.
3. Use a secure lock screen
Now that your Google account is taken care of, it is time to secure your Android phone. As essential as it may sound, ensure that the phone has a secure lock screen. The lock can be a PIN, a password, a pattern lock, or merely the slide option. I would recommend opting for a complicated lock screen password other than the slide option. It will prevent anyone from accessing your phone data when you are not around your device.
4.Turn on ‘find my phone’ feature
Worst case scenario ‘ what if you lose your phone? I have lost my phone once, and that feeling was gut-wrenching. Although Google Photos, Drive, and Contacts helped me get back all my data, knowing the fact that my phone was out there with the risk of falling into some stranger’s hand irked me.
So, the next time I bought a phone I was quick to turn on the “Find my phone” feature. “Find my phone” is Google’s phone tracking system. You can set it up by heading to Settings > Google > Security > Find My Phone.
If you ever happen to lose your phone, you can open the web browser and locate your device. If required, you can wipe away all data in the phone remotely.
5. Do not download apps from “unknown sources.”
There are close to 2,100,000 apps on Google’s play store. And not all of them are vouched for safety. The free apps that you download could be data-stealing malware programs. To make things complicated, one can download apps from unknown sources.
Apps from unknown sources are mobile apps that are not listed on the Google play store. These apps (although not all) have a dangerous probability of exhibiting riskier traits. These could include asking permissions that the app does not require to function.
6. Visit only encrypted websites
Every Google app, like Gmail, Docs, Sheets, YouTube, and the rest are all encrypted by default. Meaning, these web applications have an SSL certificate configured in them. That makes every Information transmitted through them encrypted and immune to eavesdropping.
However, whenever you are using third-party applications like browsers to visit websites, ensure that the sites are encrypted as well. For instance, if you visit any unencrypted website from your Android phone, there is a substantial risk that your phone could be infiltrated by malicious software. There is no avoiding it. Malware, spyware, viruses, etc. can download themselves into the system.
7. Avoid using public networks
The lure of free Wi-Fi is too strong to resist. But once you know that there is nothing called “Free Wi-Fi” and that you are giving away your data and your phone’s security along with that ‘ you will be able to resist the lure.
The free Wi-Fi connections are usually low on security. They are like homes with open doors that anyone can walk in and walk out freely. Of course, in the process, they can steal the process too. Unfortunately, Android phones are not the world’s most secure phones. So, it is better that you don’t fall for the free data lure and instead keep your phone safe.
8. Turn off GPS, BT & Wi-Fi when idle
GPS gives away real-time location. Bluetooth can be used to take control of connected devices. Wi-Fi can be used to steal data that you are transmitting. Why do you want to take the risk of letting it all happen when you can turn off these features when you are not using?
Of course, the risk still exists when you are using them, but the scope of the damage is reduced to a negligible measure.
9. Use of Antivirus Application:
Due to rising malware scenario, antivirus apps prove to be an ideal solution that can secure your smartphone when you are busy in browsing or playing games or listing online music. The benefit of having antivirus application are protection from phishing, web protection from various threats, protection from viruses and spyware. It also provides two-way firewall protection for incoming and outgoing data. You can enable blocking spam attacks or pop up ads as well password protection.
Android shook the mobile space and made smartphones the excellent devices that they are today. But they are not hacked proof. Your Android phone, if not properly secured, can leak your personal data. Secure it today with the safety measures we have listed out. A single error can cost to your data. With rising cyber crime, it is essential not to save passwords on different apps.