Is your Android Phone really as secure?

An Android phone is a smartphone that uses Android Operating System, developed by Google and based on Linux Kernel. Majority of smartphones in the world are either built with this Android OS or iOS (OS used on Apple handheld devices).

Because there has previously been some issues on Android being prone to malware, a lot of people now believe that if you don’t use iOS, your phone is not secure. Google has done a lot to make Android as secure as possible as they have a whole team dedicated to Android security. This team is responsible for going through online forums looking for new methods to find security vulnerabilities on Android phones and getting it fixed.

It’s safe to say that Android is an open system that (allows and) expects its community of users to know and do the right thing. It requires certain permissions to carry out some functions that might lead to your data being compromised. We might see something like a pop-up when we want to download certain applications like- allow to have access to your gallery? Allow this app make changes to your device? Allow to run over other applications? Etc. with this it gives you the opportunity to make the final verdict on what to download, install, and what permissions they’re allowed to use.

Android security chief, Adrian Ludwig, once said that – less than an estimated 0.001% of app installations on Android are able to evade the system’s multi-layered defenses and cause harm to users.” Meaning there are layers of security that has been adopted by Google for Android which must be passed through for final permission.

Let’s look at Google Play Protect and Android 11 to illustrate this-

Google Play Protect

This a process adopted by Google through Google play store used to scan apps uploaded to Plays tore to ensure it is free from malware

Android 11 and security

Taking a look at Android 11 which is one of Google’s newest inventions initially released in February, 2020. This new version of Android uses permissions on a case-by-case basis. That is, the permissions granted by the user runs only while the application is open until it is closed and when the app is reopened, another permission needs to be granted by the user for it to run.

Also, Android 11 will automatically block an app that has been denied permission by the user twice and if the user then eventually wants to run the app, he has to grant permission to such app manually.

Android 11

Where a permission was granted to an app and it has not been used for months, the permission will automatically be nullified and can only be granted manually again by the user. This and many more security upgrades coming to Android 11.

But if you still think your Android phone isn’t as secure, below are some steps to enhance your smartphone’s security-

Ways to Secure Your Android Smartphone

  1. Setting your security password, pattern, face unlock, or fingerprint unlock. The safest is a complicated one but might be forgotten.
  2. Setup two-step verification on your Google account: follow the steps on your device-
    • Go to Security settings on your account after you sign-in
    • Turn on 2-Step Verification. Now, whenever your Google account want to be logged in on another device, a code will be sent to you, with which you will confirm and authenticate your login. This way, hackers cannot access your account with just your username and password.
  3. Turn on Find my device (Settings > Security > find my device). This enables you to track your device when is stolen or lost.
  4. Always turn off Bluetooth when not in use as it enables other devices connect remotely.
  5. Try to control the urge of connecting to Wi-Fi from unknown sources. Instead, create a VPN (Virtual Private Network). Be it a downloaded third-party app, or configure the one built into your phone to protect and secure your internet activities.
  6. You can install applications like anti-virus apps to help you with your security and please, paid apps are more beneficial than free apps (this may not always true in certain situations though).
  7. Also, try as much as possible to read and know more about files and apps you want to download before actually downloading them. And mind the permissions you grant certain apps or websites.

Basically, the security of your Android device is primarily dependent on you, the user. Apart from the above listed ways to secure your Android phone, there are so many other ways to secure it and for the records, avoid excesses.

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