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Your entire life is contained in that plastic and glass slab in your hand. Personal information like emails, videos, and photos from the most important moments of your life; everything is stored in there. Considering the amount of time we spend on our phones, it’s quite worrying that we don’t spend as much time ensuring that our Android phone is configured correctly to protect us from hackers.
Androids aren’t called smartphones for anything, but as phones are getting smarter, so are the cybercriminals who seem to be determined on getting their hands on our personal information, data, and credit card details.
Smartphones have become an integral part of our lives, as we use them to perform most of our online activities, from shopping for groceries to gaming on the go and investing in the stock market.
Having your mobile phone hacked actually feels like someone has a break into your home where your privacy and your personal space have essentially been invaded. And it may take some time for you to figure out exactly what data has gone missing.
Our phones hold a lot of sensitive information that hackers can target. These are a few measures you can take that will ensure improved online security and privacy on Android devices.
Lock Your Smartphone
Enabling a screen lock is one of the simplest things you can do to protect your device from getting accessed by anyone who grabs your phone.
If you have never had one then passcodes can be a bit of a pain initially, but for peace of mind, you need one. Otherwise, imagine you drop your mobile phone while doing your weekly grocery in Walmart. The first person to pick it up immediately has access to all your data and information.
It is always recommended to have a PIN screen lock type enabled, which should have 4 or 6 digits. You can also consider using a password option, with a combination of both numbers and letters, for maximum security.
If you really can’t get your head around it and you just aren’t a passcode fan, then facial recognition and fingerprint scanning are some of the fastest alternatives to tapping in numbers or drawing patterns on the screen. But just make sure you remember your PIN code because Android will ask you for that from time to time and whenever your device restarts.
Also, make sure that all your apps have a unique login password or at least two-factor authentication is enabled. This brings us nicely on to the next security checkpoint. Passwords.
Use Strong Passwords
Whether you are creating an online account, email ID, or putting a security lock on your device, it is highly recommended to always use strong passwords.
Although it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, when it comes to thinking up a new password for your devices, don’t be sloppy. Hackers are masters at cracking passwords, so only use strong passwords that won’t be easily cracked.
To make a strong password, one should use a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters such as # @ * % $. Ideally, passwords should contain 16 to 20 characters with a mix of letters and numbers, upper and lowercase letters, and symbols.
Also, you need to be sure not to use numbers and words from your birthday or your pet’s name.
Beware of Spam and Phishing Messages and Emails
Hackers can invade your phone and access your information easily through your email inbox or messages sent/received through social media.
Phishing scams and spam messages have been around for many years and have been designed by hackers to trick you into handing over access to your accounts by providing them your account details.
But you must be wondering that how can one protect themselves from such a scam. Here’s how:
Try and avoid clicking links that appear in promotional emails or messages received on WhatsApp or through SMS, and stay away from opening odd-looking attachments.
Never try to access your bank accounts via any link provided in the email. Always go to the official website of your bank and sign in with your username and password. The same applies to any social media and email account.
VPN – Virtual Private Network
VPN is used to hide your true identity while browsing any website or using any online service, this masks your IP address and your location while also securing your Internet connection to protect it from any attacks.
Cybersecurity specialists advise that when searching for the best virtual private network for Android, users should pay attention to the encryption technology they provide and their log policy, as trusted providers don’t keep a record of browsing activity.
A Virtual Private Network or VPN gives you the freedom to create a secure connection over the internet to another network. VPNs don’t just shield your browsing data; with a VPN, you can also gain access to websites that are geo-restricted or blocked by your government.
When you are connected to a VPN and browsing the internet, your device contacts the website you are trying to access through the encrypted VPN connection. The request is forwarded to you by the VPN and then, in turn, forwards the website’s response back to you via the VPN secured connection.
Use an Antivirus App
Malware is one of the most favorite tools of hackers, and they use this to steal account information and passwords to gain unauthorized access to your account or data stored in your phone.
You can help stop this from happening by installing an antivirus app on your smartphone. Trustworthy apps like Avast and McAfee, both have smartphone variations of their enhanced security, ensuring that images, PDFs, and other files aren’t infected with malware before you actually download them on your smartphone.
Moreover, most of the recent Android OS is now coming with built-in antivirus and an antimalware feature called Google Play Protect, which is designed to periodically scan your device and apps for any potential threat.
Delete Any Untrustworthy App
Actually, it’s the ability to install apps and the freedom to add new functionality are exactly what makes our smartphone smarter and improves usability. But sometimes, we install apps that end up doing us more harm than good.
Every app could potentially be a doorway to leak your personal data and become a possible privacy threat. The reason is that almost every app has access to the Internet without asking for permission, and these apps if granted permission to have access to storage then they can easily share your data over the internet.
So it is always better to go through the list of apps already installed on your Android device and uninstall the ones that you don’t need or haven’t used during the past several months. We will also recommend you remove those apps that are from untrustworthy developers.
If proper precautions are taken, the steps above will help you protect your Android smartphone from hackers and keep you, your information, and your data safe. Doing so adds another layer of security, which makes it much harder for cybercriminals to steal your personal information and gain access to your bank account and ultimately taking power away from their hands from making your life a misery.
If these steps helped you in making your Android phone secure and improved its privacy in any way then please don’t forget to let your friends know about it. Also, if you are aware of any important factor or step that we forgot to include in this guide then leave your opinion in the comments section down below. We might include that in the list.