Keeping your Android Phone/Tablet Safe
This post is part of a series looking at staying safe online, please see our post on staying safe online here, keeping your children safe online here and how to keep your Windows PC/laptop secure here.
Android is now the most popular phone and tablet operating system in use. We use our phones all day and for a lot more than just making calls and sending text messages. It is important to keep our devices safe and secure, following these simple steps will help.
Your phone stores a lot of data, from the apps you use to your photos and documents. If you damage your phone, lose it or it gets stolen all of this data can be lost. Luckily Google, the people that design the Android operating system have built in a backup system that saves this data to your Google account.
Google have a handy guide that shows you how to turn on automatic backups and how to do this manually, which is useful if you want to transfer your data and apps from an old phone to a new one. It is available here:
It is important to ensure your phone has the latest available version of Android, security patches and updates are released to ensure your phone is safe. Make sure you have the latest version by following the information from Google here:
Lock Your Phone
It may seem like a pain to unlock your phone every time you use it, but if your phone is ever stolen and you have no security on it the thief will have access to all of your data and will be able to make calls, potentially resulting in huge bills. Setting a lock screen is simple, you can choose a pin, pattern or password. Some modern phones can be unlocked with a fingerprint or facial recognition using your phone’s camera. You can even change the settings so your phone remains unlocked when you are at home and connected to your home WiFi. Google’s guide is here:
Consider installing Find Device from the Play Store, this will allow you to find your phone if you have lost it, make it ring, even if it is on silent, secure it remotely and delete all data if you think it is lost for good. See more information here:
Apps and Programs
Only download apps from the Google Play Store, while you can find apps from other sources these may be infected with malware. Google has made great efforts to ensure the Play Store contains apps without malware or viruses.
When downloading apps from the Play Store always ensure you check the permissions the app is asking you. For instance, a messaging app will ask for your contacts, so it can send messages, your microphone for voice calls and your camera for video calls. If you download a torch app and it asks for permissions like this then don’t install it.
Google has recently started rolling out Play Protect, which is a malware scanner and phone location system, so if your phone is lost or stolen you can find it, or if it is lost for good erase all of the data on it.
More information on Play Protect is here:
Consider using an AntiVirus program on your device. For many years AntiVirus software wasn’t needed on Android, but as the platform has become more popular the risks are increasing. You can see a range of options here:
If you are no longer using an app, then delete it. If you’re not using an application, get rid of it. The fewer program doors you have into your smartphone, the fewer chances an attacker has to invade it.
If you need help with any of these come along to one of our free sessions, where a Digital Champion will be happy to discuss the options and help you set up your device. See all of our sessions here: