7 Security Tips for Android Phones
Smartphone users can often be complacent about safety and security of their persons, phones, and data. After all, who ever heard of people hacking traditional “brick phones” that can only call and send text messages? The consequences for this willful blindness can be far-reaching, however. Android mobile phone users might find themselves panicking when their data is wiped or stolen.
Here are some security tips to make sure that you and your phone stay safe. With some simple precautions, you can make it less likely that you find your photos posted in public, your email address inaccessible, or your phone wiped to factory settings.
1. Keep your password safe.
If you have a password protecting your Android mobile phone, make sure you shield your keyboard or touchscreen if you enter it in public. Don’t give your phone password to friends unless it’s absolutely necessary – even 911 calls don’t require you to unlock the phone. The easiest way to lose control of your data and your phone is to give away your password!
2. Disable “discoverable” mode on Bluetooth.
People using other Bluetooth devices can see your phone when “discoverable” mode is enabled. This can mean that they gain access without your authorization, or that they know your phone is nearby. What better way for a thief to figure out whether there are any smartphones nearby than to search for Bluetooth devices?
3. Install a mobile security app.
If you tend to install relatively unknown apps on your Android mobile phone, it might be worth finding a mobile security app to scan your phone for malware apps. AVG produces one free app called AntiVirus FREE, and other options include Antivirus Free, avast! Mobile Security, and more. Some apps like Mobile Security for Android will even allow you to remotely locate, lock, or wipe your phone if it’s stolen.
4. Back up your phone regularly.
Just like you get home or go to bed and plug in your phone to charge on a regular basis, you should have a routine for backups. This routine might be once a week or once a day, depending on how much you store on your phone. You don’t want to find yourself wishing you could go back and take a few minutes to save all your data.
5. Don’t get a phone with an outdated Android OS.
If you’re shopping for a Android mobile phones, avoid buying one with Gingerbread still installed. This is a long-outdated version of Android, and far more vulnerable to security exploits than Ice Cream Sandwich or Jelly Bean. The most recent version of any operating system is usually the safest version to run. Hackers have to figure out new operating systems from scratch and there are fewer established malware apps or link viruses.
6. Watch your website visits and history.
If a hacker gets a hold of your personal information through ordinary means like intercepting data when you log into a bank account in a public place, you’re still in trouble. Before you load a website or send data, check to see whether you’re doing it over public wi-fi, password-protected wi-fi, or your network. You might also want to clear your website history or autocomplete history on your phone now and again in case someone physically steals your phone.
7. Keep your phone physically safe.
Shady links aside, the easiest way to lose your data is by losing your phone. Keep it in your pocket while you walk, particularly if you’re walking at night. If your phone has to be out on the table, always keep an eye on it, and don’t leave it where you can’t see it. When you charge it from a public charging station, turn your phone off so it doesn’t transmit data.
Some of these security tips might seem obvious, but ask yourself when the last time you backed up was, whether you’ve ever charged your Android phone from an airport or train station charging counter, or whether your Bluetooth is discoverable and you might find yourself blushing! Keeping your Android phone safe is less complicated than it might seem.
Sam Jones, the author, uses android mobile phones for work and has had to make sure his employees are secuirty conscious in their uses of them.