With recent attacks on Android’s long-standing security-and with the open-source platform now holding a commanding 31percent hold on the U.S. smartphone market-many Google smartphone owners may be feeling underprotected. Thankfully, securing your mobile device isn’t hard, and these five steps will have your Android phone safe and malware free in no time:
1. Setting a password for your phone is one of the most immediate steps you can take to ensuring your phone’s security. This sounds simple, but having even a weak password adds one more layer between the inner-workings of your Android smartphone and would-be hackers.
To set a password, no matter what Android device you are using, go to your settings and look for something similar to Location and Security Settings. Tap this, and you’ll be presented with several ways to lock your Android device’s screen and keep it protected once off. Most famous of these methods is, of course, the swipe to unlock feature. But you can also set a numerical or alpha-numerical string, as on other smartphones. No matter what you pick, make sure you’ll remember the password and won’t find yourself just as locked out of your Google phone as the hackers.
2. If your first and primary goal is to keep your Android phone secure and free of malware, do not root your phone. Rooting your Android device removes several carrier and software restrictions designed to make it impossible for software to install without your consent. When you remove these restrictions, you grant systemwide access to some of your phone’s most vital functions. If you’re a developer or someone who absolutely has to access the innards of your Android device, then it might be worth the risk of rooting your device. Otherwise, steer clear, and your Google phone will be infinitely more secure.
3. Another obvious step you can take to keep your Google phone safe is to stick to the stock Android Market. Though the Google-provided service is not 100 percent malware free-yet, anyway-the mass input and flags available from other users are an invaluable tool to help you avoid Android viruses. If others on the Market are saying an app is malicious, you will instantly know not to download it. More than that, Google will pull apps known to be malicious as well. If you’re absolutely set on keeping your phone virus free, avoid other marketplaces for apps.
4. Getting an antivirus app for your Android phone is an immensely powerful way to protect your system. There are several good antivirus apps available on the Android Market, including Lookout Security, which you can have for your very own at an ever pleasant $0 USD. The app, and other apps like it, will scan your phone’s files-including recent app and media downloads-for any malicious software and will remedy any problems it finds. Most apps like this have the option to become a permanent background process. But if that doesn’t tickle your fancy, you can disable the app and just run it every other month or so.
5. The last step that will increase the security of your Google phone is a pretty obvious one-turn off WiFi when you don’t want it or feel your phone’s safety might be at risk. The easiest way for any hacker to access your phone is through WiFi networks you both share, and if the Auto-Connect function of your phone’s wireless is on, you may be connected to networks without your consent. To disable this, simply navigate to your Android device’s settings panel and look for Wireless and Network Communications. Tap it, and look for a setting that offers to disable the Auto-Connection of Wireless Networks. Once unchecked, you should be good to go!
That’s all there is to it! With just these five easy steps, you can take your Android phone from malware prone to tighter than Fort Knox.