Tuesday, 19 March 2013

How to secure your Android phone?

Smartphones are incredibly useful gadgets, but they also make tempting targets for thieves. A thief could try to make off with your phone, or just siphon off your data and private information using malicious software. Following are the few tips which can help toward keeping your device and data secure:-

Install an antivirus app and track your phone

An antivirus app, such as AVG, can help in keeping your phone secure. A modern Android antivirus app does more than just scan for malicious apps; it's a veritable all-purpose tool that can protect your phone from all sorts of threats. It looks out for dangerous links you may tap on by mistake, lets you know which apps could be spying on you, and can even kill tasks to keep your phone running at its best. Two of the best free mobile antivirus apps are AVG's AntiVirus Free and Lookout. They don't offer the same exact set of features, but both are solid and reliable options. Besides protecting you from malicious apps or links, both Lookout and AVG contain features that let you lock down your phone, track its location via GPS, and even remotely wipe it. If you think you just misplaced the phone nearby, most antivirus apps can have the phone give off an alarm to alert you to its location.

Use a PIN code or pattern lock

A PIN can help keep unwanted individuals from snooping in your phone. Newer versions of Android include a feature called Face Unlock that lets you use the image of your face to unlock your phone. To more securely lock your device, you should instead use a pattern lock or a PIN code. Pattern locking has you draw a specific pattern on the screen, while a PIN code has you enter a numeric code to unlock the device. Both methods are relatively secure, but they share one low-tech soft spot: smudges. If you unlock your phone and then look at it from an angle, you will likely see a trail of smudges showing what your pattern looks like, or what digits your PIN code consists of. Even if someone knows the four or five digits in a PIN code, that still leaves room for thousands of permutations. For even better security, it's best to give the screen a quick wipe after unlocking it, or even to randomly run your finger across it. Another option is to pick a pattern that doubles back on itself and leaving a smudge that won't be useful to any.

Avoid side-loading software

Normally you should leave leave 'Unknown sources' unchecked in your security settings. Android apps are packaged and distributed as APK files. You can take an APK, put it on your device, and install it directly. Some users do this to pirate apps and games, or to install apps not available on the Google Play store. By default, Android is set up to block third-party installations; however there are cases where you'll want to disable this option in order to install apps from trusted sources.

Selectively enable device administrators

Some applications let you set them as device administrators. This gives them special powers, and makes them more difficult to uninstall. This can be a good thing but most applications should work without the extra permissions. You should only set an app as a device administrator if you trust it and have need of its extended features. A security app may ask to be made an administrator to help better protect your phone. Setting an app as a device administrator can have its benefits. Administrator access is also used by large enterprises to enforce security policies on their employees' devices, and for allowing access to Exchange servers. In those cases, you won't have much choice over whether or not to enable an application as a device administrator. 

Never check the time on your phone

Always be aware of your surroundings when checking your phone in public. If a stranger asks you what time it is, never pull out your phone to check the time. This is a common ploy thieves use, because asking for the time gives them a socially acceptable excuse to get close to you, and when you pull your phone out, you're looking at the screen, not at them. This makes it very easy for the thief to just reach out, grab the phone from your hand and run away.

These tips are sort of guidance and inform you that you don't need a bunch of special apps or high-tech gimmicks to keep your device secure. Android can be used securely. 

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