As long as we connect our Android smartphones to the internet, our data and privacy is at risk. As long as we hold physical devices that we might lose, our personal information is at risk, too. Protect your privacy, your data, and your information by implementing levels of security measures, like device encryption and antivirus apps, on your Android device.
Use Screen Lock and Encryption
Your Android device has built-in security features you should be using if you aren’t already. Use a password, a PIN, a pattern, or even a face unlock. If you have a hard time remembering passwords, instead of making an easy password or PIN that people can guess, try the pattern or face unlock options. Head to Settings > Security to check out the encryption options on your device that protect your data
Be Smart With App Permissions
While you’re managing security from your Android operating system, take a look at your current app permissions. On Marshmallow, notifications pop up asking if an app has permission to do something. On earlier operating systems, you set the permissions when you install the app. Either way, ensure the permissions make sense with the app. Many apps ask for your location, for example, but don’t really need it
Enable Android Device Manager
The Android Device Manager is available through your Google account. It remotely manages any of your Android devices when they’re connected to the internet. Once you log in, you can track the location of your devices, cause them to ring if you think you just misplaced them in the house somewhere, or lock the devices and wipe all your data if one got stolen. Set it up now, before anything happens to your devices, so you’re ready just in case.
Encrypt Your Messages
Several downloadable apps offer platforms from which you can send encrypted text messages and make encrypted voice calls. One of the most popular options is Signal Private Messenger. Download this free, open source app to start texting privately on your smartphone, such as T-Mobile’s Samsung Galaxy Note 5. Use this quick app on the Uncarrier’s zippy network for secure, fast private texting. Signal Private Messenger doesn’t have access to the encrypted data you send, and it doesn’t store anything you say. Plus you can download this app knowing you have the speed and protection of T-Mobile’s 4G LTE network, and Android’s Google Play Store.
Download Antivirus Apps
Malicious apps sometimes find their way into the app stores you use most often, even the ultra-secure Google Play store. You never think you’ll download a contaminated app, but it can happen to anyone with an Android device. Installing an Antivirus app (or several) will keep your phone protected in case something nasty does make its way into your operating system.
Free versions are available, but they might be selling your data, which is another kind of security breach you don’t want to deal with. Spring for a paid version if you have the cash. Avira Antivirus Security is $11.99 for a year’s subscription, and offers features like device scanning. AVAST Mobile Security is $14.99 per year, and along with the basic app and device scans, it offers database updates and remote locking capabilities.
Use A VPN
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) sounds like something only computer hackers and business moguls need: a private network that routes your internet activity through different servers to disguise what you’re doing. When you think about it, though, VPNs sound like a good idea for anyone who uses the internet and isn’t wild about the idea that third parties can easily trace our IP addresses to track our internet activity.
Though VPNs aren’t untraceable, your IP address doesn’t immediately link up with your activity, and it’s more work to figure out what you’re doing online if someone’s tracking your data. Just watch out for slower internet service, since sending your activity through multiple servers will cause delays.
You can’t completely escape the threat of privacy breaches and data hacks as long as you’re using a smartphone and the internet. These measures will keep your private information safer, and give you some peace of mind as you continue to engage with technology.