The Android smartphone has become a personal computer for many.Today, you can see a large number of people using their smartphones to store or send sensitive data including financial information.The virtual world is full of data thieves and hackers who are scanning the web for easy targets. Hence you need to secure your Android smartphone against any threats online (hacking) and offline (stealing). Here are a few ways to secure your Android smartphone.
- Encrypt your smartphone
Encryption of your smartphone makes the data stored on the phone unreadable. Google started offering encryption since the launch of Gingerbread (2.3 X) and since then the encryption method has gone through several welcoming changes that make encrypting your phone an easy task. Here are the steps to encrypt your smartphone
- Go to Settings -> Security
- Tap on Encrypt Phone
The process may take a long time and hence you need to keep your phone connected to power source while using this option
- Set up a strong password
A password can protect your smartphone and the data in it, provided you set a strong password that is hard to guess. Always use a long word with numbers and punctuation marks to make the password guess more difficult.To set up a strong password
- Go to Settings-> Security
- Tap on Change Screen Lock
- Tap on Change Password
- Use apps offering end-to-end encryption
Many of us use our smartphone to share our personal moments through apps. Hence, you need to be vigilant and use apps that offer end-to-end encryption.When you select apps offering end-to-end encryption, your messages, photos, videos, documents, calls are secured from falling into the wrong hands. Some of the apps that offer end-to-end encryption are Facebook Messenger, Whats App, Allo, Signal, Telegram, and Cyber Dust.
- Use two-factor authentication whenever offered
Also known as 2 FA, the two-factor authentication adds an extra security layer to existing security arrangements. Many Android apps offer two-factor authentication that requires you to enter more than a username and password (that can be easily stolen). The two-factor authentication ensures the unauthorized person is prevented from getting access to sensitive data or app on your android smartphone. This multi-authentication method ensures the piece of information required for access is only available to the legitimate user.
- Use a different browser
Not all browsers are created equally; some have more security features while some have less. Different browsers manage data in different ways.Some browsers come with added extensions that might collect information about your preferences and surfing habits and report back. Android users have so many secure browsers at the Google Play store. When you are sharing personal or sensitive information through a browser, make sure you are using a secure browser.You can use the less secure browser for surfing and more secure browser for sharing content.
- Update your device and apps regularly
Updating device and app regularly is the easiest way to secure your Android phone. After the release of Android OS and apps, you might have seen Google and app developers offering security updates. These updates are necessary to patch security loopholes in your Android phone that might be exploited by cyber criminals.
- Leave your phone behind when necessary
Phones have become an integral part of our life but that does not mean you cannot survive without your phone. Some people have the habit of carrying their phone even to places where they are not needed. For example, you can leave your smartphone at home when going for a swim, or on a holiday. You can purchase the cheapest prepaid phone for communicating purposes. This way you can prevent the phone from being stolen and you losing it for any reason.
- Do Not Save All of Your Passwords
Don’t save all your passwords when the browser prompts you to do so.It is very easy to recover saved information from browsers so you should avoid saving passwords of important user account and bank logins.You can create a password strategy that can be used to create unique passwords for each login.You can pick any favorite phrase and add some numbers and alphabets to it.For example, the password for Gmail account can be Jack&Jill gmail 16 where Gmail is the user account and 16 is your birth date.You can follow this strategy for all user accounts which is also easy to remember.
- Lock Your Apps
Your apps store a large amount of personal information and sensitive data. Locking apps can help in preventing access to the sensitive data stored in them. When you lock the apps, the user will be required to enter a password each time, to access the app. This can provide good security to your data if the phone is lost or falls into the wrong hands
- The importance of app permissions
The app permissions define the privilege and access to the data stored on your phone.You should be alert when you assign permissions to apps specifically while installing new apps. Read the access permissions clearly and accept only if you sense the app needs it for functioning. For example, a calendar app does not need permission to access the camera.
- Use Mobile Security App
A mobile security app protects your app from virus and other malicious programs.Sometimes you unknowingly download the app from other sources which may be virus programs designed to steal your data. Mobile security apps scan the apps you download and also scans your phone contents regularly to see if there is any virus hidden in the phone waiting to strike.
- Prepare a Backup of Your Data
Data recovery can be costly and virus infection can make your data inaccessible. Hence you need to back up your important data so that you will never feel restless on losing your phone. You can backup the data on your computer or in the cloud. Android phones have ready cloud backup in the form of Google drive. Use it to backup your data including contacts, photos, documents, messages and everything that is important.
- Track Your Lost Device
You can track your lost device by using Android Manager. This can be helpful to know the current location of your phone. All you need to do is keep the location feature on that will help you know the current location of your Android phone. The Android Manager is a built-in feature of the Android phone. If you are not able to locate your Android phone, you can log into Android Manager using your Gmail account and track the lost phone. You can press the ring button in android manager that will cause the phone to ring even in silent mode
- Enable Remote Wipe
The remote wipe feature is available in Android Manager. If you have lost your phone and there is no chance of recovering it, you can perform a remote wipe that will erase all data stored on the phone. This can be done by logging into Android Manager using your Gmail account related to your phone.
It is necessary you take concrete steps to protect your Android phone to prevent data theft. With so many options available, it is not hard to protect your privacy and the data on the Android phone.