Did you know that Android holds the largest install base of any operating system on the planet? That’s right; there are more devices that use Android than Windows or any other OS. The system is also one of the most open. While that’s good for developer freedom, it also means that some crooks might take advantage of that. In this article, we’ll introduce some basic steps every user can take to improve their Android device’s safety.
Lock your screen
Putting a password/PIN code, or pattern code. It seems rather obvious. Your phone has all sorts of personal information, pictures, phone numbers, social media accounts, even bank account information and personal data. You shouldn’t give access to just anyone, and the very least you can do is lock your screen. To do that you should:
- Enter the Settings menu
- Open Security, under Personal
- Open Screen Lock
Now you can choose your screen lock method. We recommend setting a password, as it can include letters, numbers, and symbols. The PIN and Patterns codes are faster to input, as you’ll have to unlock your screen every time you disable it but are less secure. All options are better than simply leaving your phone open.
Deleting Browser Cookies on Android
Android browsers rely on cookies to collect information, just like their bigger PC brothers. That’s useful for quicker logins and searches, but the gathered information can also be used in malicious ways. The cookie can track your browser and give that data to whoever’s buying. To delete browser cookies in Android, you should:
- Open your browser
- Open the options menu (the icon with three vertical dots)
- Open Settings
- Open Privacy/Privacy & Security
- Tap Clear Browsing Data
- Select “Cookies, site data”
- Tap Clear
This method should work on most Android browsers. Clearing your Android browser’s cookies from time to time is healthy for your cyber-security. That way you can prevent further collection of your personal data. You can check out our full tutorial on how to delete cookies on deleting browser cookies on your computer.
How to Use the Google Play store
Always check the permissions required by an app before downloading it. The biggest strength of the Android system is how free it is for developers to publish what they want. However, that freedom is often abused by companies who want to take advantage of users. You should avoid downloading apps that require permissions to use parts of your phone they wouldn’t really require to function. For example, FlashKeyboard required Camera and Location access. These permissions aren’t necessary for a keyboard app to work, and they’re most likely used for data collection on users. If an app requires too many unneeded permissions, it might be best not to download it. Another plus of a good app-install etiquette is the saving of phone resources like memory space and battery life. The more apps you have, the slower your system is.
How to Encrypt Your Android Device
Encrypting your Android device is probably the best step you can take to improve your cyber-security. Your device is filled with all sorts of data. Encryption makes that data much harder to read from the outside. Encryption works like this: your phone’s data is coded to make it harder to access it without a key. While locking your screen is effective against more crude methods of accessing your device, it can still be bypassed by a competent hacker. Encryption makes hacking more difficult by scrambling the phone’s data. To encrypt your device you should:
- Plug it into a power source. The encryption takes some time; it’s good for your phone to have the energy to complete the proves
- Lock your screen (check out the guide above)
- Enter Settings
- Open Security
- Tap on Encrypt [device type]
- Tap on Encrypt [device type]
- Enter you lock screen password/PIN code/ Pattern
- Tap Encrypt [device type]
- Wait for the process to finish
The methods outlined in this guide are the simplest, fastest ways to improve the security of your Android device. The best way to improve your cyber-security remains vigilance. Don’t get careless with your Android device, avoid dangerous content, stay safe.