With so much sensitive information residing on your smartphone, it is an attractive target for cyber bad guys. If you don’t want to lose it all, here are the top 5 ways to keep your Android device safe from snoopers and hackers.
1. NEVER DOWNLOAD APPS OUTSIDE OF THE PLAY STORE
Downloading apps from unofficial sources may be extremely dangerous because you can easily get your device infected with nasty malware.
Cybercriminals can make a malicious software to look exactly like a popular app and place it in a third-party app store for you to download. Google’s strict review process is designed to keep malicious apps away, so only credible ones can make it to the Play Store. Therefore, the Google Play Store should be the one and only place for getting your apps.
2. ALWAYS READ APP PERMISSIONS
Another advantage of downloading apps from the Play Store is that you can check what permissions the app requires before you install it on your phone.
Take your time to review permissions on app download screens to make sure you don’t see anything suspicious. If you do, don’t download the app. For example, a photo editor will need to access your photo gallery, but if such an app wants to access your contacts or location data, it’s an alarming signal of malicious intentions.
3. STOP SHARING YOUR LOCATION DATA
While some apps, such as Google Maps, couldn’t function properly without knowing your location, others may be using this information for completely different purposes.
The good news is that Android lets you manage your location settings or disable location access completely by navigating to Settings > Advanced Settings > Location Access. On Android 6.0 and above, you can control location access for each app you have. So head to Settings > Apps > (Select an app) > Permissions and disable the location access and make sure you are sharing your location data only with apps that actually need it.
4. NEVER SKIP UPDATES
Software updates are there for a reason – don’t skip them. These updates contain not only bug fixes and new features, but also patches for known security vulnerabilities. Although many people tend to ignore them, it is not a safe example to follow.
It is as simple as that: by postponing updates, you put your privacy at risk. The easiest way to stay up-to-date is to enable automatic updates over Wi-Fi. You can do this by going to Google Play Settings->General->Auto-update apps.
5. AVOID FALLING INTO A FREE WI-FI TRAP
So here’s the truth: you are never safe when connecting your phone to public Wi-Fi provided at your favorite coffee shop, hotel or shopping mall.
Man-in-the-middle attacks, fake hotspots, and Wi-Fi sniffing are the most popular methods used by cybercriminals. Once a hacker manages to sneak into a public network, they can easily lure you into giving away your credit card details, passwords, and other sensitive information, often without you even noticing it.
So the best solution here is to get a reliable VPN (Virtual Private Network), such as NordVPN, that will keep your data safe every time you go on the Internet. The NordVPN app for Android comes with a unique auto connection feature that will instantly initiate a VPN connection whenever you join a Wi-Fi network.
Online safety is not rocket science, so you don’t have to be tech savvy to protect yourself from cybercrime. Afterall, it is more about doing safe things on the Internet rather than spending money on fancy equipment or learning complex security tricks.