We live in the Information Age where innovation is churning out cutting-edge technology devices for private and professional use. As of 2016, Statistica deduced that there were 2.1 billion smartphones across the globe and this figure is projected to reach an impressive 2.5 billion in 2019.
The penetration rates have risen sharply from 10% in 2011 to 36% in 2018, and a significant part of this market runs on Android. Common security threats for Android devices include unsecured Wi-Fi, spyware, network spoofing, and data leaks through mobile apps.
Aside from phones and tablets, many devices run on the Android operating system: home security system, refrigerator, Android TV boxes, karaoke machine, in-car navigation, Amazon Fire TV, and Android-based smartwatches among others. When looking at the prevalence of Android OS, it is imperative that users know how to protect their privacy by observing the following safety measures.
VPN for Android
Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) create safe and encrypted connections over networks that are inherently not secure such that data passes through secure tunnels. Users go through authentication methods like tokens to grant them access.
VPNs protect your device so that you can freely connect to Wi-Fi anywhere in the world without compromising privacy. When searching for the best VPN for Android devices, users are spoilt for choice with trustworthy options in the market. Please note, these VPNs don’t interfere with the speed or bandwidth of devices.
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Security for technology gadgets must start from where you purchase the devices. The black market is awash with second-hand gadgets whose acquisition is questionable, and their fairer prices should not fool you. Buy phones, tablets, and other Android devices from trusted vendors as they provide new patches habitually.
Android Authority listed their most trusted vendors for keeping their phones updated. You are better off acquiring devices at a higher price than spending less only to have your privacy compromised down the line.
All devices require a certain level of privacy protection to deter unauthorised access even from friends or opportunistic intruders. Use a passcode or PIN that is hard to guess and of course, refrain from reusing passcodes.
Using one password across the board is highly tempting but not advisable at all. Instead, use a password management program to help you keep track of the different passwords even as you change them periodically. To this end, pull down the notification bar and click on the gear icon to see the privacy settings of your Android device. Fingerprint access is shrouded in debatable legalities that keep shifting, so it’s best to avoid this option.
There could be several users accessing devices like tablets and smartphones with every user having an independent account. Go through the security features for each account by switching between accounts on the web browser. It may be a tedious process but overlooking this could expose you to security breaches if either of these accounts is hacked.
Make it a family affair and teach elderly parents or kids who may not be tech savvy how to go about this without your intervention. In the same breadth, hide sensitive notifications – such as banking updates – so they are not displayed on the screen for prying eyes to view.
Find my phone
Android fans are raving about this groundbreaking feature that makes the phone ring until you locate it. Find my Phone can lock your phone remotely with a password and have a message asking anyone who tracks it to call a stipulated number on the screen. Should your phone search prove futile, the app can wipe the device clean so that nobody will access your data. Alternatively, you can use Android Device Manager (ADM) for the same purpose.
New software updates are released every so often, but not many people appreciate their importance. Downloading new updates is an integral step to safeguarding privacy on devices running on Android. The process is tiresome and intrusive and could even modify the interface you usually use, but it’s vehemently crucial.
We are continually installing the latest apps to bring more comfort to everyday life, but this force of habit leaves us vulnerable to hackers’ traps. Some apps request for rights to read files, listen to the microphone, access the phone’s camera, and such. While there may be a legitimate need for these access requests, granting rights indiscriminately exposes your device to abuse.
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For instance, hackers could access pictures and videos and threaten to share them online – celebrities are high-value targets. Android allows installation of third-party apps which leaves users susceptible to rogue apps entering your device. Users must be discerning when downloading these apps.
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It is not an arduous task to protect your privacy on Android as the operating system provides several approaches to safeguard your data from cybercriminals or other people with ulterior motives. These range from two-factor authentication access controls to the more complex use of VPNs which may require professional assistance to fathom and launch an attack. However, users must remain vigilant and keep abreast with new industry changes so they can protect themselves.