Online protection and privacy are fundamental digital rights. No matter how dependent we become on our smartphones and computing devices, we need to set boundaries, control access to our digital movements and reclaim our online freedom. If you are an Android smartphone or tablet user or planning to buy an Android device, this security and privacy guide is something you should definitely keep by your side in 2021.
Security and Privacy for Android Devices
Our Android devices need 2 layers of protection to ensure 100% privacy and security:
- The first layer provides network-level security, which ensures our devices are safe against network vulnerabilities, digital fingerprinting and ISP monitoring.
- The second layer provides device-level security, which ensures our devices’ storage is safe from viruses, adware, people in our social circle, muggers and attackers who would like to gain unauthorized access on our devices and misuse sensitive data.
7 Steps to Protect Android Phones and Tablets
We have discussed 7 failproof ways in this section that you can deploy today to achieve 100% network and device-level protection for your Android Devices.
- Strengthen your network security key.
Network security key, also called Wi-Fi password is one of the fastest ways to spoof someone’s online activity and hack a device. An ideally strong Wi-Fi password is a string of random alphanumeric and special characters. Make sure you have set a complex network security key based on WPA2 standards.
- Download a VPN.
A VPN is the best tool that hides online behaviour and preserves a device’s network-level privacy from online scams and cyberthreats. Choose a trusted VPN service for Android like iProVPN, because it has a fast VPN server, works on zero-logs policy, does not collect or process user information and has dedicated apps for Android, iOS, Mac and Windows platforms.
- Use a secure browser.
Secure browsers do not log user activity and protect Android devices from malicious cookies and adware. Use a secure browser like Mozilla Firefox, manage and delete third-party internet cookies and use safe search engines to reduce digital fingerprinting.
- Set a screen lock.
Anybody who wants to physically get into your Android device will have to bypass your screen lock, this means it is the first device-level security measure that can strengthen the privacy of your device. Setting a screen lock also secures your Gmail account, its inbox and drive storage. We recommend enabling biometric verifications like fingerprint passcodes and face-recognition features for ultimate safety. Also, disable any setting that would display social and privacy notifications on the lock screen.
- Activate an Antivirus.
An antivirus program can protect your Android device from adware, malware, ransomware, popular viruses and data leaks. If you already have an antivirus app installed on your phone, it’s high time you activate it. If not, invest in antivirus software that’s ad-free and does not crash if the phone is connected to a fast VPN server in the background. Popular antivirus apps like McAfee Mobile Security and Bitdefender diagnose network connections and apps before they take a spot on your phone. Plus, these software programs notify users of any potential data breaches and identity thefts.
- Use a device locator.
Device finders and locators can come in very handy in case you have left your device behind or someone has stolen it. Such an app, like Google Find My Device, can locate a device remotely, and wipe off confidential data, login credentials, banking accounts, passwords and other sensitive details in case the device is permanently out of reach. This app allows users to access the cellphone from a different device, perform factory reset options, ring an alarm even if the device is on silent mode and trace its virtual location through Google Maps.
- Manage app permissions.
Certain apps ask you to grant sensitive permissions. These apps want to access your storage, camera, microphone, email inbox, social media accounts, contacts and gallery. We recommend Android users to review app permissions before downloading them. Also, if it is mandatory to install and use a particular app, you can temporarily grant permissions and disable after using the app. One way to manage these permissions is to download an app called Bouncer. This app allows users to manage all app permissions in one place, and you can set timers for temporary permissions.
Other Ways to Maintain Android Security and Privacy
If you want additional safety, consider enabling 2Factor Authentication on social media accounts and payment gateways. Plus, you can use password manager programs that create complex passwords, save them, auto-fill forms upon user directives and change passwords after set intervals.
Cyberthreats are growing exponentially. Our Android devices are exposed to more vulnerabilities than we can imagine. Keeping all the cybersecurity concerns and issues in view, you can download the suggested apps and make the recommended adjustments to add protective shields to your devices today.