While the biggest advantage of Android lies in its being open source, it also poses great danger because it leaves any device running on it open to malware and attacks. Here are some security tips, must apps and possible risks to ensure you get more out of your phone, tablet and other handheld gadgets.
The most common risk is malware or software written with the intent to cause harm attacking your device. Malware can destroy the contents of your phone, including contacts and credit card details. In fact the most popular malware payload is one that uses SMS apps to steal money. It is also possible that malware records calls you make and forwards them to hackers to use for their gains.
These risks enter your devices when you access untrusted apps or through something as simple as someone untrusted using your phone or someone stealing it. Sometimes you don’t even realize that you’ve been played; you download an app that looks and sounds like a legitimate one only to realize that it is has a slight difference, a letter missing, added or changed. If you’re not careful, it can spell trouble. If you’re is a rooted device, that is if you have custom ROM, then the malware will simply give itself root permission and install additional software without checking with you first.
You can physically prevent people from accessing information on your phone by putting in place a password, PIN or pattern of swiping to unlock your phone. Use encryption to ensure no one can access data via the USB port either.
Keep as little personal information on your phone as possible. We’re talking especially of passwords and credit card details that should be noted down elsewhere or else, stored on encrypted files. Don’t allow the mobile browser to remember your password. Use instead a site like LastPass that gives you secure options to do the same.
When it comes to downloads, the simplest tip would be to be vigilant when you download an app and even then, to only download one that is trusted. Very few Android apps ask for permission when they are installed and then too, multiple times, making it rather difficult to verify authenticity. So if you’re downloading, check and double check before you install.
Since Android is especially prone to malware, here are some anti-malware apps that you should certainly consider.
•avast! Mobile Security
Apart from a firewall for rooted users and malware protection, this app comes with remote cell phone tracker and locator and is highly rated by users everywhere.
•Dr. Web Anti-virus
This popular anti-virus has the advantage of not reducing battery life or affecting the quality of your operating system. Among other things, it provides detailed statistics, SD-card protection and and constant monitoring of your device. The anti-virus also has a ‘light’ version which is free.
•Lookout Security and Antivirus
Lookout’s features are mostly free are rated highly by tech magazines everywhere. It detects and eliminates viruses in attachments, phone files and apps, can scan numbers you call and block URLS that are unsafe, among other things.
There are many other anti-virus apps that can be of use to you, so do check them out and decide what works. Be a tad watchful, enjoy only safe apps and get the most out of your Android device.