One of the articles I write most regularly is tips on keeping your Android phone safe. The reason I cover this topic frequently is because I find consumers and other types of users often need a friendly reminder on how to avoid becoming a victim of malicious actors who want nothing more than to have their data stolen or their bank accounts drained.
Over the years, the advice rarely changes, but it is always important to keep the reminder first in the minds of every user. I have seen it many times where the user forgets to follow the best practices and ends up having their phone hacked or locked with ransomware.
Believe me when I say you don’t want to. Given that such problems are not difficult to avoid, you should not worry that these tips will be difficult even from a distance. In fact, it is very easy to follow.
But you must follow them.
With that, let’s advise him.
Just install the must-have apps
This first tip is hard for many to swallow. However, you must ask yourself if you really need that random untrusted game found in the Google Play Store. The answer is probably no. I follow a very strict rule of installing apps that I absolutely must have and I never break that rule.
Why is this so important? Because you never know what kind of malicious code can be found hidden inside an application or an application’s advertising framework. In a perfect world, stock apps on your device should suffice. Of course, the truth is that we all need third-party apps (to work, play, and communicate). So when you have to install an app, make sure it’s an app from a trusted source (such as a large company that has a vested interest in ensuring that the apps you release are reliable and trustworthy).
If you feel itchy to install a specific app, be sure to do a little research before clicking install. Google the name of the app or app developer and see if anything suspicious comes up in the results.
Just install apps from Google Play Store
This should go without saying, but don’t install apps from anywhere outside the Google Play Store. This does not mean that every application in the Google market can be trusted (see above), but at least find out the installation time from the official store, as these applications have been carefully checked. Of course, malicious code still slips through the loopholes, but the probability of installing malicious code from an external source is much higher. Even if you find this necessary application on a site that you think you can trust, you will never know if that site has been hacked and whether or not the available software version has been hacked.
also: Fake versions of real smartphone apps are used to spread malware. Here’s how to keep you safe
Do not click on links from SMS messages from unknown sources
Never click on a link in an SMS message from a source you don’t know. Anytime you receive an SMS from an unknown source, assume it is an attempt to access your data or enter a malicious code on your device. And even if that SMS looks like it’s coming from a reputable source, chances are good that it’s a phishing attempt or worse. Again, never click on these links.
At the same time, do not respond to these messages. When I receive SMS messages from unknown sources, I block them with 99% and report the sender as spam. Malicious SMS links are one of the most used methods to hack Android devices.
Update, update, update
Google releases regular security patches for Android and it is very important that you install them. Not only do these updates contain new and exciting features, but they patch security holes to keep you safe. If you do not apply the upgrade, your device is at risk. That’s why it’s essential that you always check for updates and apply them right away. To check for an OS upgrade, go to Settings > System > System Update.
But this applies not only to the operating system. You should also regularly check for app updates (which can be done from the Google Play Store, tap on your profile picture > Manage apps and device > Update all).
Make sure to check for updates (operating system and apps) daily or weekly.
also: How to find and remove advanced spyware from your phone
Do not connect to unsecured networks without a VPN
If you find yourself in a situation where you think you need to connect to a wireless network that doesn’t have a secure password, don’t do it. Use your carrier data instead.
If this is not an option, make sure to use a reliable VPN service that can encrypt and randomize the data you send. If given the option to use carrier data or connect to an unprotected wireless network, I will always use carrier data.
The second you connect to an unsecured wireless network, you open yourself up to the possibility of sniffing your packets or hacking your device.
Do not do it.
You may think that it is impossible to follow these instructions but you will be surprised how easy it actually is. If you think this is too exaggerated, remember that the consequences of not securing your Android device could mean a data breach, a ransom attack, or someone spying on you via your phone’s microphone or camera. The time you spend reversing this type of damage is much more difficult than just using your phone with an eye on safety.