Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Why Your Android Device Needs Data Protection, And How to Do That

Your Android phone might not be some Fort Knox for the US Government, but have you ever stopped to think of what would happen should anyone get access to your phone’s data?
Now that we are asking, it is easier to think not much is at stake. Quite frankly, we beg to differ.

What You Stand to Lose in An Android Data Hack

When you bought your Android device, you had to set it up with a Google account. The importance of this is that you get to save and backup all your files in line with such a Google account so that you can easily port phones later in the future.
At the base of that, there is one important thing you missed – everything about you might be on that Google account.
This means a single hack could grant anyone access to your Google Photos app, and there is no telling what they would find there. Suddenly, all those pictures you thought had been buried away will come to the surface again. Even the ones you deleted from your device might have been backed up on Google Photos before you removed them yourself.
That is putting things mildly.
A hacker could plant malicious codes on your unit instead, and you might not know until it is too late. Imagine what would happen if someone installed a keylogger on your phone to record all your key presses. They could easily use this data to get your passwords into different accounts, decipher your bank login details and so much more.
Again, we know your phone is not some Fort Knox, but you do see why you need to protect the data on it anyways?

Protecting your Android device

Fortunately, Google has put some security measures in place to keep hackers at bay. Unfortunately, these measures from Google are the bare minimum, and they could be gotten around with the right skills and motivation.
That is why you should build on the existing security protocols to make your data safer. Here’s how:

1 Keep Google’s security settings
Like we said above, your phone comes with some security settings out of the box. It is expected that you leave them be so that you don’t expose yourself. Some of these security settings are:
       Prevention of app installations from unknown sources – This functionality is built into your Android phone to ensure apps from anywhere else than the Play Store doesn’t make it onto your device. That is because Google has checked the apps it allows onto the Play Store for malware and certified them, but won’t be able to help you when you go installing an app from anywhere else.
       Keeping the device grounded – Your OEM knows how much power and performance you should get from your unit, and they have worked that into the OS. However, some people feel the need to root the device to get more speed, power, and performance out of it.
While you would surely get that, know that it is at risk of voiding your warranty and leaving the system open to attacks it could have otherwise warded off.

2 Update Frequently
This goes in two ways – system and application.
Sometimes, you might get a notification from Google/ your OEM of a pending update you should attend to. Many either disregard this message or wait a long time before they get the update at all. The same goes for when you receive notifications to update your apps to a newer version.
While it is true that updates are sometimes sent to improve the aesthetics of apps and the system, they are also there to ensure everything keeps running as it should be. By that, we mean the updates run a maintenance check to patch vulnerabilities and address security issues that must have been found.
This is even more common with the higher end Android phones which get monthly security updates.
Not installing the updates as fast as they come leaves you vulnerable to attacks from hackers who know how to exploit the loophole you should have fixed.

3 Install a VPN and Antivirus
We lumped these two together so you don't think they are independent of one another.
An antivirus is great for cleaning out the viruses that must be lurking around in your device while preventing others from coming in. They could also be the difference between falling for a phishing scam/ opening malicious documents and not, so you should totally get one.
That said, they can’t handle the function of a VPN.
When you install a VPN specially optimized for the Android OS, you get protection anytime you access the Internet. Your Internet traffic is no longer everyone’s business, making it impossible for a hacker to snoop on what you are doing online.
This kind of protection comes in handy when you are browsing the web and accessing sensitive information on a free/ public Wi-Fi network.

Wrap Up

Alongside making sure you have 2FA enabled on your accounts, keeping a strong password and backing up your files regularly, your Android device will be prepared to face any attack that might come its way.


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