Android has malware. It exists, and can affect your phone in negative ways. It’s not common or even likely to happen to you, but it can. You can also ensure that you’ll never have to deal with any of those problems with a few simple steps.
Android definitely still has some holes in it, and while we can’t fix all of them, we can fix quite a few. Here is everything you need to know about keeping your Android phone protected from everything out there.
Download Reputable Apps From the Play Store
This is the biggest thing you can do to protect yourself. An Android phone is a very different beast than a desktop PC. It is designed to be more locked down and harder to break.
The most common way for software to arrive on your device is when the user downloads an app. This lets in code from a third-party developer, and that can break out of its shell and cause damage.
Your best bet for avoiding malware in third-party apps is to download apps from the Play Store. Anything uploaded there has passed through Google’s automated security scans and is at least somewhat reputable.
Second, download apps that are well-known and generally trusted. Are there a lot of positive reviews on the Play Store? Are there a lot of downloads? Do reviewers on the internet laud it? Then its the way to go.
In this case, you’re relying on others to have downloaded an app beforehand to check that it’s safe. Usually there’s safety in numbers – if you’re the ten thousandth person to download something, it’s probably safe.
Android allows you to download apps from outside the Play Store. While this can be great for getting new or open-source apps, it’s also more suspect than downloading Play Store apps. Choose carefully when installing from outside
Use an Antivirus App
Most phones don’t need an antivirus app for the reasons listed above – if all you’ve ever downloaded is Facebook and Twitter, you’re fine.
However, if you need extra protection, there is an option for antivirus apps that protect your data. We at TechNorms have listed some great antivirus apps for Android before, and any of them are great choices.
They limit apps internet access and keep track of what your phone’s doing on a deeper level than is possible even on iOS. It’s a nice way to secure every bit of traffic.
Root and Install App Ops
For rooted users, there’s App Ops (also known as Privacy Guard). This is a system-level feature you can get as an Xposed module or a root app.
Privacy Guard gives you granular control over every permission used by every app. Don’t think Facebook needs to know you location? Disable it.
The results often break apps from functioning properly (Google Maps really does need your location), but can also protect your privacy without making you not use the app at all.
Keep Your Phone Up to Date
Google often introduces new fixes and patches in new versions of Android. If you get the option for a system update, take it. It probably fixes something important.
System patches are a double-edged sword. They fix vulnerabilities, but any malicious hacker who can reverse-engineer the patch can figure out what it’s patching and how to exploit it. Now the hacker can use this vulnerability against any device that hasn’t updated yet.
The biggest thing you can do is download reputable apps from the Play Store. If you’re rooted, Privacy Guard is also a beautiful addition.