The average individual uses their smartphone multiple hours a day.
We all have lots of sensitive information stored on our devices – pictures, bank accounts, communication, geolocation, biometric data, that can easily be exploited by criminals.
That is why you must do everything in your power to make sure that your smartphone remains as secure as possible.
A seemingly minor mistake or simple oversight could allow cybercriminals to steal your personal data, access your bank account, and destroy your credit.
Here is a quick look at five Android safety tips that you can use to make your tablets and smartphones more secure.
#1 Use Strong Passwords
One of the easiest and most effective ways to boost your digital security is to use strong passwords.
As a general rule, you should avoid creating passwords that contain your name, the name of your pets, or common number combinations.
The strongest password is going to be a random mixture of numbers, letters, and symbols.
You should also have different passwords for all of your accounts. You don’t want to have all of your apps and accounts jeopardized if a single company is hacked.
After you have created strong passwords, you might want to change some settings in your apps as well.
While it might be convenient to stay logged in to certain mobile applications, that is going to negatively impact your phone’s security.
Log out of any apps that have access to your private data or banking information as soon as you are done with them.
#2 Lock the Phone
Many people never even consider locking their phones and tablets because they have those devices on them at all times.
Unfortunately, not setting up a lock screen can be a major mistake that ends up bringing your life to a grinding halt if your phone is stolen.
Some criminals won’t even bother trying to get into a smartphone or tablet if there is some type of lock screen.
There are many different ways to lock a phone, and each option has its own pros and cons.
- Facial recognition lock screens are incredibly strong, but unlocking your phone with that feature might take two or three seconds.
- At the very least, you should have some type of PIN or finger press code. Those security features are very easy to set up, and they should unlock your phone right away because entering a shortcode doesn’t require very much processing power.
- Some phones now contain fingerprint scanning software as well, and that is another great option for those who want their mobile devices to be very secure.
#3 Update Apps and Keep a Close Eye on App Permissions
Constantly updating your device might seem like a waste of time, but those updates are highly important.
App developers and software engineers can catch countless security holes after their programs and operating systems have been released.
As soon as they find a potential security threat, they must patch it and send out an update.
Most modern phones and tablets will automatically search for updates in the middle of the night, when charging, when connected to WiFi or at designated times throughout the day.
When you are considering downloading software, you must make sure that it is being regularly updated.
If the piece of software hasn’t had a patch or bug fix in the last few months, then it could contain exploits that criminals will be able to take advantage of.
You should also keep a close eye on what each app is allowed to access after it is installed.
Some apps are created purely to collect data on users, and that type of software could gain access to your location, contact list, photos, and personal data.
#4 Use Antivirus Software
Most mobile devices come with pre-installed antivirus software, but those programs aren’t always that effective.
After you purchase a new smartphone or tablet, you should spend some time researching the best antivirus software for Android safety.
Those apps are created specifically for this operating system, and they will add an extra layer of security to your device.
There are many different security programs to choose from, and you will need to take a look at all of the features that those apps have to offer.
A basic antivirus app will have a malware scan function as well as a comprehensive firewall.
As a rule of thumb – if it’s free, it contains bloatware or ads, it might actually slow down your phone, so try looking for paid options.
#5 Enable Anti-Theft Features
Your Android device probably has at least a few anti-theft features, and that additional security is going to be invaluable if your device is ever lost or stolen.
Some of those apps allow you to turn on your device’s GPS and track it from a computer.
Your Google account actually has that feature, and you can access it under Security > My Devices tab.
You might also be able to completely lock out all users until you get it back. As soon as you notice that your device is missing, you will be able to trigger the lock screen and track its location.
You can also give that data to the authorities if you think that your smartphone was stolen by a criminal.
If your Android device didn’t come with anti-theft software, then you should look for security apps in the app store.
Those types of features are often included in comprehensive anti-malware packages.
While it might be tempting to use free anti-theft apps, it is important to remember that those programs are often filled with intrusive ads.
You will never be able to make your Android device completely secure, but you can do quite a bit to protect your private information.
With a few simple changes to how you use your phone and a handful of security apps, it is going to be nearly impossible for a criminal to break into your phone.
Lisa Michaels is a content creator for Daxima, a full-stack development firm with custom software solutions, where she writes about mobile app development and safety. She does her best to stay on top of the current trends in business and tech at all times. Feel free to connect with her on Twitter.