Protecting your smartphone is critical nowadays, considering how much of our private lives are stored on those devices. It’s vital to prevent attackers from obtaining your personal information. Unfortunately, a complex device like this is not so easy to secure if you don’t know what you’re doing. There are some things you need to keep in mind if you want to minimize the risk of anything happening to your phone.
Just don’t fall for the trap of believing that you always need to upgrade to the latest model available on the market to stay safe – you can keep an older phone secure without much trouble. In fact, older devices come with some benefits in this regard.
1. Use a Password Lock
A simple piece of advice, and yet you’d be amazed at how many people ignore it on a regular basis. Setting up a password lock on your phone can go a long way toward preventing potential security issues. Even if you lose the device somewhere, nobody can get inside and go through your private information.
This can also work well when you’re put in a compromising situation, such as when a police officer tries to go through your phone when you’re being questioned. They can’t force you to unlock it in most jurisdictions, although they often have the freedom to go through an unlocked device.
2. Use an Antivirus
This is another simple step that can save you from a lot of trouble. Make sure that you always have an antivirus running on your device. Even if you are careful with the applications you download and install (more on that below), this is still a good idea that will provide you with an extra layer of security. It’s not perfect – don’t get the wrong idea, a determined attacker will still be able to circumvent this kind of protection.
But it’s still better than not having any protection at all, and in the rare case where some virus manages to slip past you undetected, you’ll be glad you took the time to install an antivirus tool on your device.
3. Get a VPN
A virtual private network is often seen as something reserved for people with more advanced needs, but the truth is that it can benefit pretty much anyone. A good VPN can give you an additional level of privacy in your browsing, providing you with the reassurance that nobody can snoop on your connections. It will also allow you to enjoy your favorite content anywhere you are without any interruptions, a common use case for Netflix users who travel a lot.
4. Don’t Sideload Apps
Sometimes, you’re going to come across apps that are not available in the main store, and you have to download and install them manually. This often comes with some warnings from the operating system, which users often ignore. You need to understand that this puts you at a considerable security risk though, as you’re giving direct access to your device to an app which may or may not be trustworthy.
Unless you know who the developer/publisher is and have a good reason to install this specific app, you should stay away from sideloading and leave it to the people who know what they are doing and how to verify their apps.
5. Encrypt Your Data
Do you have any sensitive information on your phone or the SD card inside it? It’s a good idea to look into encrypting that data. This can prevent a lot of trouble if someone gets their hands on the phone. Even a password lock won’t save you if the thief can just pull out the memory card and access it on another device. If this is something that could expose you to risk, you should go through the effort to encrypt your data.
It may take some time, but after that, you won’t even notice anything different, and you’ll be able to continue using your device the same as before. Only this time, you’ll be protected against potential data theft.
Following these guidelines will give you some extra reassurance about your data and will allow you to stay safe when you use your Android smartphone. Keep in mind that there’s no protection against yourself though – if you choose to ignore all warnings the operating system and antivirus tools give you, there’s not much point in trying to secure the device in the first place.