9 out of 10 cellphones are vulnerable to hackers. Is your Android cell phone secure? You can have a secure Android phone! This article outlines 12 steps to a safer phone and discusses some of the Android phone security issues.
For the most part your Android phone is not at risk of being infected by a virus, but there are bad people out there that are targeting Android phone users. There are many different methods these bad people use to gain access to your sensitive information. Malware is the biggest concern, and there are steps you can take to prevent a Malware attack.
No Device is 100% Secure!
What are 12 Steps to a Safer and More Secure Android Phone?
1) Learn about the built-in privacy and security features on your Android phone
2) Don’t use free public Wi-Fi – Use your data plan instead
3) Limit privileges granted to apps and uninstall unused apps
4) Use a pin or biometric login procedure
5) Audit your saved passwords occasionally
6) Use two-factor authentication for sensitive accounts
7) Turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when not in use
8) Don’t fall victim to mobile phishing attacks
9) Don’t use any public charging stations
10) Use anti-virus and anti-malware software
Here are the 12 Steps to a Safer and More Secure Android Phone Explained
- #1 – Learn about the built-in privacy and security features on your Android phone —
- Many consumers are not aware of the security and privacy features built into an Android phone. Some devices have a Smart Lock feature. Smart Lock can lock your device when you are not using it.
- Another useful feature is the Find, Lock, or Erase device. If you have a Google account associated with your Android phone this handy feature is automatically enabled. If your device is lost or stolen learn how to find, lock, or erase it.
- Full-disk encryption is also an option on newer versions of android. Encryption will ensure that your data is secure.
- #2 – Don’t use free public Wi-Fi – Use your data plan instead ––
- Even if the public Wi-Fi appears secure don’t use it. Hackers take advantage of these environments and attempt to steal your information. A worst-case scenario is that a hacker intercepts your banking information.
- NOTE: If you must use public Wi-Fi always have a VPN installed and activated on your Android phone. This will ensure that any information intercepted by an eavesdropper will be encrypted, therefore useless to the hacker.
- #3 – Limit privileges granted to apps and uninstall unused apps —
- When installing apps only grant privileges that are absolutely required for the app to function. Also. keep in mind that if you don’t need all the functionality of the app you may be able to deny some privileges like location access.
- Routinely monitor the apps you have installed, and uninstall the ones you don’t use. Not only do you eliminate a possible attack surface for a hacker but you also open up memory space on your phone.
- And, in general when not necessary location access should be turned off for the entire phone. Just turn it on when necessary.
- #4 – Use a pin or biometric login procedure ––
- Using some type of authentication to gain access to your Android phone adds a level of security that is useful. If your phone lands in the possession of someone else they will not be able to access your data.
- If someone gets their hands on your Android device you don’t want them to have access to your data. Use your options under the Lock-screen privacy section to limit information that is shown while your swcreen is locked. By default, sensitive information may be displayed.
- #5 – Audit your saved passwords occasionally —
- Especially when using a Google account your passwords may be saved on the phone. It’s convenient but it is another way someone can access your passwords and your personal data. Audit your saved passwords and remove the ones you don’t need.
- When using a password manager of any type always ensure that you don’t use duplicate passwords between different accounts. This protects your accounts in case there is a corporate data breach and your password is compromised. There will only be one account to be concerned with.
- #6 – Use two-factor authentication for sensitive accounts —
- #7 – Turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when not in use —
- Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections are vulnerable access points for a hacker. When in public there are many sources for network connections. When you leave your Bluetooth and Wi-Fi services turned on you are a moving target for hackers. By simply turning these options off when not using them eliminates two big attack surfaces.
- #8 – Don’t fall victim to mobile phishing attacks —
- The most powerful defense against malware attacks is user awareness. Malware does not magically appear on your Android device. For malware to get installed on your Android device you must manually do something to install it. Don’t be a victim of a phishing attack. Don’t click links that you are not certain where they go, or what they do. And, never grant permission to a service that you are not familiar with.
- A user must take both these actions (install and give access) for malware to get on your Android phone. Maintain a high level of awareness when using your device.
- #9 – Don’t use any public charging stations —
- Some public cell phone charging stations attempt to steal your sensitive information, and/or install malware on your phone. Like 55% of American adults you may not be aware of the risk of your cell phone being infected with malware, or sensitive data being stolen, when you use a charging station.
- While some experts say the threat does not warrant concern, other experts disagree. X-Force Red, the penetration testing team at IBM, has issued warnings about the risks some public cell phone charging stations pose. If the charging station has illegally been tampered with, you are at risk of being “Juice Jacked”. And, it’s not just the station that you need to be concerned with, it’s also the threat of other phones that are connected to the same station.
- The best practice is to carry a wall plug charger with you or use a portable power cell to charge your phone. Advoid public charging stations.
- #10 – Use anti-virus and anti-malware software —
- Unlike iPhones, Android phones do not install apps and services in isolated containers. It is possible for an infected app to have access to system settings. For this reason, it is recommended that Android phones be protected with anti-virus and anti-malware software.
- #11 – Stay up-to-date with Android phone security updates —
- Without installing Android security updates there would be over one billion Android devices at risk. Especially with older versions of Android (version 6.0 and earlier), there are security risks if the device does not have all current security updates. Always ensure your device is set to auto-update.
- #12 – Don’t disclose your location unless necessary —
- On an Android phone the automatic location identifier is turned on by default. This is not necessary to be able to make phone calls. Only turn on location services when it is necessary in order to use a specific app. Leaving the location services enabled is opening yourself up to a handful of dangerous attacks.
12 Steps to a Safer and More Secure Phone – Summary
Android has been around for almost 15 years. There are more than 2 billion active devices being used on any given day. Because of the vast popularity of the devices they have become a preferred target for hackers and malicious users.
Service providers often delay pushing out Android device security updates. This makes many devices vulnerable to attack. Users can’t do much about this issue, but they can maintain awareness and use their device in a safe and responsible manner.
By knowing and practicing the guidelines covered in the 12 steps to a safer and more secure android device that are mentioned in this article users can be more confident that they will stay safe.
Is there a big risk of getting a virus on your Android phone? No, there is not! The issue is not having to avoid viruses but to use your phone wisely and don’t fall victim to phishing attack. Clicking on malicious links and giving permission to shady apps are the ways that you can get infected with Malware.
Remember, it just takes one wrong click to ruin your day. Stay aware and use your device safely. It helps to use apps that maintain your privacy, and to educate yourself on the latest threats and tricks used by hackers and scammers.
Updated 02/20/2021 by Kirby Allen