Being at the top comes with its own pitfalls. The Android OS, by virtue of having a market share of over 80%, has been facing threats from hackers and other cyber criminals for many years now. One of the most positive and unique features of Android is its uber-flexible open source build that enabled many developers to create so many wonderful apps. However, this is proving to be a double-edged sword as malicious attacks by unscrupulous hackers are multiplying by the day and making the OS vulnerable and soft.
Google to its credit has been making changes and strengthening its security features with every update of the OS. The Lollipop OS for instance offers encryption at a level that was not existent earlier. But it is also the responsibility of the user to take responsibility and take measures that will render his or her device fool proof against attacks.
So what precautions you can take to safeguard your Android device?
a) You need to first lock your screen at all times and not fail to do so due to lethargy or forgetfulness. Putting a pattern lock or PIN is another way of ensuring nobody gets access to your device even if it gets lost. In the event of losing your phone, you would be able to then delete sensitive data from your desktop by using the “find my phone” option through the Google ID or Gmail ID that has been registered on the device.
b) You need to use the encryption option that is available to safeguard your stored data. Since Google does an excellent job of syncing updates, ensure your passwords and permissions for apps are strong and robust. Do not reuse passwords and keep changing them to confuse hackers.
c) When online, especially at public WiFi, be careful as these are often unsecured and can be vulnerable to hacker attacks. So do not use these networks to conduct any financial transactions. If you are using a WiFi at home, have a strong password for your router.
d) Rooting the device is a good way of acquiring better control over your device. But do not so blindly and consider the advantages of doing so before getting it done. The threats from unsigned apps can increase and since it is also difficult to do regular patches or update the OS, you need to look at the rooting option very carefully. It is not recommended.
e) Downloading of apps must be done only from official stores as doing it from other third party sources will expose your device to more threats. The Google Play Store should be your preferred choice for apps.
f) Make sure you have installed a good security app and keep updating it. An app that has anti theft, tracking, locking, scanning of malware would be ideal. Such apps do a great job of blocking sites, offer kids protection online and even boosts battery life and memory management features.