The average person in the world today keeps a ton of “stuff” on their smartphone. Gone are the days when making a call was the only thing you could do—now there’s basically nothing you can’t do on your mobile device—aside from keeping it completely safe, that is. Emailing, banking, shopping, it’s all right there at the tip of your fingers. And with this new convenience comes a certain degree of personal responsibility, especially because our phones also carry all of our most private information. From locations to contacts to browsing history, your phone says a lot about who you are, what you do, and what you like. And for Android users, finding the level of security needed to protect this data can be a little rough. Here are some tips to remember:
Get A PIN
Everybody—yes, everybody needs a pin number on the phone. This is the lightest layer of security and is completely not optional. A PIN, otherwise known as a password or some kind of biometric authorization, is all you need to preserve the most basic safety of your mobile phone. Enabling a lock screen PIN is simple—just pick your password option of choice, which you will need to enter every time after this moment forward. Just remember, if you forget it, there will some headaches to deal with.
Use Find My Phone
Android (and iPhone) users should take a little time to look at Google’s Find My Phone feature. It’s built into the phone and does not cost extra to use. Previously known as Android Device Manager, this service is connected to your Google account and can be used to manage all of your Android gadgets remotely, providing that they are connected to the internet. You will be given a list of your devices, with options to track location, alert you with a ringing sound, or lock and erase the data within. By enabling this feature, you will have the option of locking your screen remotely or, in the event of a theft, completely deleting the information stored in your phone.
Perfect The Password
Along with just plain lock screen, weak or commonly used passwords are the biggest no-no in modern security. If you want to meet the new digital standards for personal devices, like smartphones, you will need to come up with a password that is a bit more creative that your birthday or favorite pet name. Ideally, you want to blend cases, numbers, and unique characters to create the stronger possible password. Just be sure to write it down somewhere private in case you forget!
While setting a solid password is a great start, mixing up different passwords is even better. Nowadays, it’s not safe to depend on just one “universal” password for everything—because if that authentication is compromised, it will unlock basically everything you own. Best to have a few different ones you use in rotation, so even if you are breached in one account, your others are not affected.
We have mostly dealt with offline security and preventing cybercriminals from cracking into your private files; however, it is still possible for hackers to track what you are looking at and downloading from the internet. The best way to ensure this doesn’t happen to your phone (or any other device for that matter), is to install a Virtual Private Network (VPN) wherever you access the web. A VPN service will route your traffic through an alternate server first. This way, your IP address and gadget are not immediately connected to an end service. Some VPNs will also keep a log of what you’re doing, so always best to look at the terms and conditions before you utilize any service.
VPNs add an additional layer of privacy, but just remember—they don’t make you totally undetectable. They are also usually used to access sites that are locked to a particular region. However, you will often find that your web speeds slow down quite a bit due to all the diverted traffic.
Employ Anti-Virus Measures
While the Play Store does a great job of screening out malicious applications, you can find additional security using anti-virus applications as well. This isn’t really essential for most users, but if you’re enthusiastic about applications from other developer sites, then anti-virus is absolutely worth looking into. Obviously, the free versions are going to gather a few information to sell for advertising purposes, but there are a number of reasonably priced choices available that also present some extra highlights.
Many anti-virus applications pack in anti-theft features these days, including remote phone locking and wiping. Besides, some of these applications can watch out for more extensive Android security weakness and offer protection from malicious messages and rogue sites.
There are a lot of little things that you can do to ensure your protection and help keep your Android gadgets somewhat more secure. Change your passwords routinely, disable or uninstall applications that you don’t usually use or need, keep an eye on application permissions, and be aware of timely application updates.