Top 10 tips to protect your Android smartphone and tablets

With nearly two billion users, Android smartphone and tablets offer a very lucrative playing field for hackers and cybercriminals. While there are third-party Apps which help you to get specific cybersecurity for your Android devices, Google provides various useful built-in security features.

You can use these built-in security features in addition to third-party Apps to make your Android device hacker-proof. Here are top 10 tips to keep your Android smartphone and tablet secure from hackers.

Avoid Clicking on Unknown Links and Attachments:

Phishing is perhaps the oldest trick that cybercriminals use to get into your device. They do it by sending malicious links & attachments and inject malware into your smartphone or target. Most of these emails seemingly originate from a known friend and colleague fooling even the most hardened tech geek. Most of these emails/messages will contain some honey trap or attractive offers while some will threaten users with system failure etc. to force them to click on malicious links. Thus, it would do you world of good to cross-check all the links & attachments before you click them or open them.

Avoid Free Wi-Fi or Public Wi-Fi:

If you are one of those users who finds free Wi-Fi an attractive deal then it’s time to get rid of this practice. Free Wi-Fi is often a honey trap to inject malware into your smartphone through a man-in-the-middle attack. It is very easy to breach your Android smartphone with a small piece of malicious software on an open network. You should use VPNs and avoid visiting your bank accounts and social media accounts while surfing on a public Wi-Fi.

Check App Permissions:

Generally, Android users rarely see the App permissions that the App asks when it is installing on their smartphone. This becomes an easy way for cybercriminals to install malware containing Apps on your smartphone.  A malafide alarm app may ask for permission to your contacts which is not necessary and symptomatic of malware infection. It is very important to check App permissions you grant to different apps while installation on your device. You can also disable certain permissions from Android default App manager or use third-party App to disable such unwanted permissions.

Download from Known Sources:

Never ever download Apps from a third-party website. Even Google Play Store has trouble keeping malware Apps out of its store. Though, Google verifies the app on different security parameters before allowing it to download by any user it still has managed to clean on 49 percent of its App Store. You should disable “ Download from Unknown Sources” feature in your device settings to avoid downloading from unknown and suspicious sources.

Add Guest User:

If you share your smartphone with others a lot, it would be helpful to create a guest account on your device. With a guest account, you can restrict your friends and colleagues from accessing privileged information on your smartphone. This simple trick will help you protect your sensitive and personal data effortlessly.

Data Backup:

With ransomware emerging as the top threat to your Android smartphone, keeping a full backup would help you factory reset your Android smartphone and restore it to its original form. Keeping data backup on external devices or on an encrypted cloud server is the single most effective way of thwarting ransomware infection. Data backup will also help you restore your smartphone due to device failure or other reasons.

Update Apps:

The easiest way to your smartphone is via Apps. With bugs and zero-days existing in around 70 percent of the available Apps, it is a good habit to update your Apps as soon as the developer releases a new version. App updates also improve your app’s performance. To update your App from Google Play Store, go to Google Play Store and open My Apps & Games from upper-left corner and then go to Updates.

Update Software:

Like your Apps, even the Android operating system is vulnerable to new types of attacks and bugs. Google release patches for such flaws from time to time. It would do you good to update your smartphone operating system as soon as a new firmware version is available. Some Android smartphone manufacturers don’t release the Android patches so it would be a better idea to ditch such smartphones and get a smartphone from a known manufacturer who issues patch regularly. To check update manually, go to Settings > About Phone > Software Update.

Use Strong password:

The password is sometimes the last man standing between you and a potential hacker. Always prefer to set a lock on your device with a strong password or pattern lock in addition to fingerprint unlock feature. Use letters, numbers and special characters to build a strong password. This simple step will not only help you avoid threat from curious onlookers but it will also protect you from other cyber threats.

Don’t Visit Spurious Websites

Most of the malware is delivered when you visit spurious websites like torrents, warez downloads or porn sites. Avoid such sites which require you to register or lead you to a fictitious survey intending on garnering your personal data. Many porn and torrent websites also have cryptocurrency mining script which can drain your smartphones resources and degrade battery life. It is best that you avoid such websites and choose to visit only genuine websites.

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