How to Make Your Android Phone More Secure
Our smartphones carry an entire library of personal data to be as useful and versatile as they are. It’s not just contacts, messages, files, and photos. Think about all the account passwords, banking info, location data, websites you’ve visited and searches you’ve made. It’s a lot!
As you’ll have seen in our April Newsletter email, your phone privacy, safety, and security are important to us. Your Android experience should always be as good as it can be, and a few quick security provisions can help make it so.
Android offers plenty of customisation options, letting you tailor your own phone experience. When you delve into the settings, it’s easy to take control of your data, passwords, and activity.
Here are a few things you can do to make your Android phone more secure:
Routinely scan your apps:
Did you know Google can scan an app to check if it’s safe before you’ve even downloaded it? With ‘Google Play Protect’, your phone can see if apps are suspicious or misbehaving. Once you’ve got it switched on, it’ll periodically scan all your apps to make sure they’re all working as they should.
The good news is that Google Play Protect should automatically be switched on, but it’s definitely worth checking to make sure. Just go to Settings > Security > Google Play Protect. Then, tap the cog at the top right of your screen and check that the toggle settings are on. If they’re not, switch them to ‘on’ and your app downloads will instantly be a lot safer and risk-free.
Downloading apps? Check what permissions you give:
Some apps require permission to use a few of your phone’s features to work properly. For example, Uber needs your location info so you can hire a cab, Instagram needs to access your camera and photos to allow uploads. But not every app needs to have access to these features all the time, and there are other features they don’t need access to at all. Every time you download a new app, double-check the permissions.
Go to Settings > Apps > Permissions. You’ll then be taken to the ‘Permission Manager’ where you can see all the apps that have permission to use certain features. These features include your camera, calendar, messages, contacts, files, and location. Just tap on a feature to see which app uses it, then tap on the app to remove permission. With location data, you can choose to give each app permission to use your location all the time, only when you’re using the app, or deny permission entirely. It’s that easy.
Set up Two Factor Authentication:
Apps and data aren’t the only things your phone stores. There’s also all your account information for things like Facebook, Spotify, Netflix, banking – the list goes on. Of course, it’s always worth having a strong password to minimise the chance of your account being hacked. However, if there’s a ‘Two Factor Authentication’ option, always opt in.
With two factor authentications, you’ll need your password (as always) and a temporary code that’s sent to your phone to access your accounts. This means that would-be hackers would not only need your account password, they’d also need your phone to get the code that grants access to your accounts. In other words, you’re doubling your safety measures by adding an extra layer of security.
Just head to Settings > Google > Manage your Google Account. Once you’re there, scroll to the Security tab and look for ‘2-Step Verification’. Then, follow the on-screen steps to get it set up.
Two factor authentications may add an extra step to the sign-in process, but the extra security it gives, far outweighs the extra login time. Try it out!
Got a Samsung? Meet Knox:
Samsung phones are built with security in mind from the foundation. As the trend shifted from browsing on PCs to using phones, Samsung saw that phones need increased protection against mobile security threats. That’s why they launched Samsung Knox, a defence-grade security platform that incorporates both hardware and software.
With Knox, your Samsung phone can isolate data, placing it in a secure location on your device. It also encrypts your data, so your data remains secure in the event your phone is stolen. As well as privacy, it fends off malicious threats, malware, and all other unauthorised access to your phone. It really is impressive.
Top tip: make the most of Samsung Secure Folder. This is a place where you can store private your private documents, photos, files and apps under the protection of the Knox platform. Once you add it all there, you can lock it away and access it all with a PIN, password, pattern or with your fingerprint. To get there, tap Settings > Biometrics and security > Secure Folder, then sign into your Samsung account.
Try a different browser:
There’s no doubt about it, Google Chrome is an excellent browser. The layout feels natural, intuitive, and easy to use, and the browser has a ton of features. Unfortunately though, those features include online tracking and storage of search history data.
Ever wondered how the ads you see online got so accurate? It’s because cross-site trackers follow your activity online and make educated predictions on what you’ll do next. For example, if you visit multiple sites looking for a new TV, online trackers assume that you’re in the market for a new TV. You’re then likely to see targeted ads for TVs from relevant retailers. It is clever, but it’s not the way it has to be.
There are plenty of other browsers to choose from. Many of them model their layout on the trusty Chrome interface we’ve all come to love, but they don’t rely on using and storing your data. Try one that puts the focus on your online security and privacy, like DuckDuckGo.
Of course, Google apps are naturally the default option on Android devices. So, once you download your new browser, you’ll have to set it as the new default for opening links and surfing the web. Once you’ve done that though, you’ve taken a big leap to make your browsing more private.
There you have it – a few easy tips to make security a priority on your Android phone.
What apps or tips do you have or use to keep your accounts and data safe? Let us know!
Have an Apple device and want to know how to keep your data safe?