Top Tips to Tighten Security on Your Android
What would you rather lose, your wallet or your smartphone?
If you find that to be a tough ultimatum, you’re not alone. One of the many reasons you feel so connected to your smartphone these days is that it contains so much personal information about you — perhaps even more so than your wallet.
However, there are multiple methods savvy smartphone users can employ to protect their data. Here are some surefire hacks to help you beef up security on your Android device.
Lock your apps
For the apps on your device that are particularly sensitive (think mobile banking, file managers, email apps and even text messenger apps), it’s wise to consider locking them. This added layer of security can give you peace of mind that even if your device ends up in the wrong hands, the person using the device won’t have easy access to your most personal information.
There’s a wide variety of free lock systems available in the Google Play store, but one of the most popular of the bunch is App Lock, which boasts more than 100 million users. In addition to the basic app locking functions, this app also allows users to hide specific videos and photos for additional privacy.
Use built-in security measures
Depending on what version of Android your phone is running, there are multiple built-in security features that mobile users can deploy to boost their data protection. The most basic standard security measure is setting up a screen lock for your phone (so users must input a password or code to unlock your device).
Beyond that, users can also encrypt their Android for added security. Essentially, switching on the encryption feature automatically scrambles all that precious data that would be useful for scammers and cybercriminals. However, if your device came loaded up with Lollipop (the latest version of Android OS), or if you’ve recently received an OS update to Lollipop, encryption is automated and you don’t need to flip any manual switch.
For those who’d like added security when sharing their phone with others, there’s also the option to add multiple users (again, standard on phones running Lollipop). If you’re worried about your little one accidentally making in-app purchases, or if your work requires phone sharing, this function comes in handy. Simply open up Settings, open the “Users” section and add a new profile based on your needs. Choose between a regular or restricted profile, where you can have added control over what apps each profile can access.
Set up remote wiping
Inevitably, we’ll all lose our phone at some point. But a little foresight can downgrade this scenario from a disaster to a mild inconvenience.
Should you ever misplace your handset, one function that can save you is remote wiping. Simply pull up your Android Device Manager (ADM), and make sure the “Allow remote lock and erase” option is checked. Then simply hit “activate” on the next screen and you can now access the Android Device Manager website to either lock your phone to prevent privacy breaches, or erase your information from anywhere.
The same ADM feature also allows owners of lost Androids to locate them with your device’s built-in GPS. Just ensure you’ve checked the option in the same ADM menu to allow your phone to be tracked.
Avoid saving all your passwords
Yes, it’s a pain to log into Facebook every time you want to check a notification. That’s precisely the reason many of us automatically save passwords for commonly used sites and apps directly on our devices.
However, storing all your password information (particularly to sensitive sites and apps that contain personal data) is a big no-no. If your phone was stolen, all those saved passwords would make it mighty easy for thieves to access private data and payment functions.
The bottom line
The prevalence of smartphones in our modern world has created an ecosystem where mobile devices can serve as a portal to our private data. Implementing the tips above will help ensure you don’t serve up your sensitive information on a silver platter to strangers or thieves if your device gets lost or stolen.
Do you have other ways to boost your Android’s security? Share your advice in the comments below.
By Lindsey Peacock