Android smartphones are very secure. They are also imperfect. Hackers are constantly looking for ways to hack into phones and steal personal data.
Google offers patches every month with updated security protocols. Not every phone vendor sends those patches out. Some phone providers send these patches out well after their creation.
Protecting your Android is up to you. Keeping your private information safe is about doing the right thing every time. It is not necessary to pay for expensive security tools.
Here are nine ways to protect your Android without spending a fortune.
Purchase a Phone with Security in Mind
Most Android users decide on a phone because of its features or popularity. Security should be a major factor in the decision, too.
Not all vendors, or phone makers, take security as seriously as they should. Google, LG, and Motorola are known for sending patches out quickly to their devices. One of the most popular phone companies, Samsung, often delays sending patches or skips sending them altogether.
Keep Your Phone Locked
If your phone is lost or left behind while unlocked, anyone has access to your information. This is one of the simplest ways to protect your Android.
A complex PIN is the safest way to lock your phone. All the new biometric security methods are easier to infiltrate.
Use Multi-Factor Authentication
Google has an integrated two-factor authentication system. You can enable it from the settings menu.
This requires a unique code to be entered at each login attempt. The code is sent to your device by a phone call or a text message. This prevents a remote hacker from accessing your accounts.
Stick to the Google Play Store
Malware is rampant on third-party app sites. Every useful app can be found on the official app store for Android – the Google Play Store.
Downloading apps from a website directly to your Android is asking for trouble. To enhance your security further, enable Google Play Protect. This will scan your phone each time you install a new app. If anything suspicious is identified the installation will be paused or terminated.
Enable Encryption Services
Android offers the ability to encrypt your device. Find the pathway from the Security Settings screen on your device.
Encryption can prevent anyone from physically accessing your phone and searching through your personal information.
Get a VPN App
A VPN can provide the comfort of knowing your data is encrypted to and from your device. The Virtual Private Network creates a tunnel that your browsing information and data can travel through.
Avoid using a “free” VPN service. They often perform poorly. Some free VPNs are known to drop out, leaving your information immediately vulnerable. Paying a small fee for a higher quality VPN offers better security (you can get one here).
Download Antivirus Software
Google Play Protect performs well at inspecting apps as you install them. Supporting that feature with a dedicated antivirus app is a way to increase the security of your Android. These apps continuously search for and destroy malware.
There are free options available that work well. You can also choose one that charges a small fee for additional services like phone tracking or self-destruction tools.
Disconnect WiFi and Bluetooth
If you are not actively connected to a network or device, disable both of these connections. Hackers can attack through these connections and allowing WiFi to connect to unknown networks is dangerous.
Turning the connections off is good for security and extends the battery life of your Android.
Be a Good App Steward
Review the apps on your phone regularly. If you are not using an app at least once a month, delete it. Apps that are used infrequently are also rarely updated.
This lack of updates can lead to security vulnerabilities that were not present when you downloaded the app. Keeping your Android tidy with only up to date, usable apps is a great way to free up space and keep the device secure.
As you can see, most of these ideas come without any cost. It is easy to protect your Android without spending a lot of money.