Android is one of the leaders in the market for mobile operating systems. A large number of people trust their devices with vast volumes of personal data, while at the same time they have little to no understanding of how their operating systems work, and what security practices they should be observing.
Given the fact that Android is more open by nature, users should be wary of certain potential issues in their day-to-day device use. They should also be proactive in keeping their personal information safe. Data is quickly becoming the most valuable currency in the world, and those who are careless with the way they handle their own are likely to face significant issues sooner or later.
Keep Your Screen Locked
One of the simplest things you can do to keep your device secure is also, surprisingly, the thing people forget to enable most often. Android has a convenient automatic screen locking feature with various password types available for unlocking the device. You should always make sure that it’s enabled. The slight hassle of having to re-enter your passcode every time you want to use the device is more than worth it when you consider what could happen if it fell into a malicious person’s hands.
One tap on your e-mail app would be enough to give someone almost full access to numerous accounts on various platforms. This can lead to issues that you won’t be able to resolve for months. You probably don’t leave your home unlocked when you go outside, and it doesn’t make sense to treat your smartphone any differently.
Use 2-Factor Authentication
Speaking of accounts, your Google account is one of your most valuable digital assets on an Android smartphone. You should be very protective of it and use all additional security measures that Google supports, as well as a basic password.
2-factor authentication is a concept that’s becoming more and more popular in the IT world, which is a good thing because it adds an extra layer of security to your accounts and devices. It requires you to enter an additional passcode sent to a separate device when you’re logging in from a new location. Even though this can be annoying (for example, when the SMS takes some time to arrive), it will keep most attackers at bay. Even if someone managed to compromise your Google password, they still wouldn’t be able to get in without access to your secondary authentication device.
Enable Find My Phone
Find My Phone is an excellent feature for situations where you’ve lost your phone or had it stolen. It will allow you to track the device remotely using its GPS connection (it may even be able to turn on location services remotely if they’re disabled) and will show you where it was last “spotted”, along with a detailed history of its previous locations. You could also ring an alarm to help you find the phone if you’ve misplaced it somewhere at home.
Using a VPN on top of Find My Phone is even better, as it will allow you to circumvent any possible network restrictions that might prevent the feature from working correctly. Various VPN providers on the market support Android out of the box and make it very easy to set up a client on your device and use it on a daily basis. It’s a good idea to look into purchasing a subscription if you haven’t already.
Don’t Mess with Developer Mode Unless You Know What You’re Doing
Developer Mode is a feature that allows you to tweak additional settings of the operating system. And while it may seem cool and exciting, it can also compromise your device’s security if you don’t know what you’re doing. Users are often interested in Developer Mode for the specific reason of installing untrusted apps – ones that you can’t get at the Play Store but have to download and install manually. Unless you are sure about the origin of the app and what it does with your device, this is a part of your operating system that you should leave untouched.
Some people have developed a negative impression of Android over the years, seeing it as an unsecured, unstable operating system. But the truth is that most cases of compromised devices can be attributed to user error. The fact that Android is so open and allows users to dig so deeply into its internal components can sometimes amplify the results of those errors beyond expectation.