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7 Tips to Protect Your Android Smartphone

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  • 8 min read

Android smartphones are now the most popular mobiles in the world with millions of devices being sold out each day. This makes Android vulnerable to several security threats. Hackers, malware, phishing, and other threats can compromise your personal data, privacy, and performance.

That’s why you need to take some steps to protect your Android smartphone from these dangers. It is actually quite easy to do so. There are a few best practices that you need to follow and you are good to go.

You can watch the video below or continue reading the article.

In this article, we will list seven such best tips that you can use to protect your Android phone’s privacy and security.

Here are some tips that we will cover:

Download apps from reputed app stores

This step is probably the most important one as downloading apps from various third-party websites may result in your Android smartphone being hacked.

Reputed online app stores such as Google Play routinely scan the apps for potential malicious codes. On the other hand, other stores do not regularly perform scans and hence their apps may contain malware including spyware, ransomware, or adware that can harm your device in many ways without you even knowing it.

Usually, threat actors lure people by showcasing the full version of the demo apps on their websites. These threat actors also market these malicious apps on social media and messaging apps like Telegram. This is one of the oldest tricks in the books and many people fall for that.

Other than downloading the apps from official app stores, you should do thorough research including checking the app’s reviews and ratings before downloading it on your phone.

That being said, some apps can bypass Google Play Store’s Data Safety labels as one research has pointed out. But these can be termed as exceptions to the rule. Also, some apps, even while being hosted on Google Play, may contain malicious droppers.

Even with these minor setbacks, downloading from official app stores will more or less guarantee the app’s safety.

Beware of fake apps

With billions of Android devices in the market, it has become quite lucrative for hackers to target this segment. They can use multiple ways to do so with fake apps being one of the most widely used methods.

So, what is a fake app? A fake app mimics and masquerades as an original app in look, feel and functionality. But these fake apps contain harmful codes that can even lock your phone.

While most fake apps don’t go as far as to lock your phone, most of these apps trick users into giving away their personal and financial information or downloading malware into the phone. Usually, for cautious eyes, these apps are easy to find, but for those who are not concerned with their device’s safety, these apps may be hard to detect.

However, there are a few signs that you should take note of to detect these apps such as a change in spelling or grammar of the app details, low ratings of the apps, and negative reviews by people on various forums such as Reddit. While you are at it check out the developer’s name and details and try to find out more about them on the internet. If you find less or no information, then these developers are threat actors and you should immediately report the app.

If you have downloaded the app, check the app permission (we will deal with this topic later). If the app is asking for too many permissions, it is likely a scam.

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Check app permissions

Another step that you can take to protect your Android smartphone is to check the app permissions. Each app requires a specific set of permissions for the app to work properly. These permissions may include camera, microphone, location, and contacts, among others.

However, the fake apps and even the real ones sometimes ask for too many permissions and that can be a problem.

You should always check and review the permissions for the app and grant them only the necessary ones. Here’s how to check the app’s permission on Android:

  • Head to Settings and then tap on Apps.
  • Select see all apps to get a full list of apps on your smartphone.
  • Now, select the app.
  • Now, select Permissions.
  • Here, you can see which permissions are allowed for the app under the Allowed section and which permissions are not granted under the Not allowed section.

Precautions while installing custom ROMs

Another precaution that you should take to protect your Android smartphones is when you are downloading and installing custom ROMs. Many people don’t like Android as the way it is and they want to add customisations and features to the OS. Custom ROMs are the way to add these accessories to the operating system. We have covered a detailed article on the top 5 custom ROMs for Android.

However, installing a custom ROM has its risks too. These ROMs may contain malicious codes or are rigged with flaws that will ultimately harm your smartphone and privacy.

Here are some tips to guide you through the process of custom ROM installation:

  • Backup your data: There are chances that your data can be erased in the installation process. So, keep your data secured either on the cloud or use custom recovery software like TWRP or CWM. These software save the image of your entire system.
  • Check the compatibility: Check the compatibility of your ROM first as installing the wrong custom ROM can have devastating consequences. Vising the official website may help in checking the compatibility.
  • Download from trusted sources: While some custom ROMs are quite popular and trusted, others are a bit shady. Always download the ROMs from trusted sources to avoid malware and other dangerous software from hacking your phone.
  • Verify the integrity of the files: After downloading the ROM, you should check the integrity of the files to confirm that they are not corrupt. There are various tools for this purpose such as Hash Droid and Hash Checker.

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Precautions while doing in-app purchases

You should take ample precautions while doing in-app purchases especially if your children have access to the app. Here are some tips that you can follow:

  • Know what you are buying: Apps can have different categories of items that you can purchase. These include consumables, non-consumables, and auto-renewable items. Therefore, you should understand what each category represents and what you are buying. Reading the description of the items may help.
  • Use a secure payment method: Always use a secure payment method for payment such as credit and debit cards, or use store credit in Google Play. Do not use any other payment methods if the app asks for it including wire transfer, cheques and cash. If the app asks for these transactions, immediately report the app.
  • Enable parental restrictions: If you have children are you are concerned about some apps, you can enable parental control in Google Play. Here’s how:
  • Open Google Play and then tap on the profile picture at the top right of the screen. Next, tap on Settings.
  • In the Settings, tap on Parental controls under the Family heading.
  • Finally, turn on the toggle in front of the Parental controls are off option.

Keep your phone updated

The next point that you should keep in mind to protect your Android smartphone is to keep the OS updated. Updates are software patches that fix several flaws and improve the operating system’s performance.

Updating your Android OS only requires a few taps and a few minutes depending on the update. Here’s how to update your Android operating system:

  • Head to the Settings app on your Android smartphone and then tap on System updates.
  • Next, tap on Check for updates.

Install a good antivirus

Finally, install a good antivirus on your Android smartphone to keep it more secure. Antiviruses are software that regularly checks the apps to detect malware, spyware, and other malicious apps.

There are many good antivirus software in the market such as Kaspersky, Malwarebytes, Avast, and Norton, among others. Choose the most effective ones by reading the reviews and checking the official website for prices and other information.

If you follow these tips, you can protect your Android smartphones better than other people. Share this article with your friends and family and check out our other cybersecurity articles.

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Kumar Hemant

Deputy Editor at Candid.Technology. Hemant writes at the intersection of tech and culture and has a keen interest in science, social issues and international relations. You can contact him here:

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