Google s Android is the world s most popular mobile operating system with a market share of 81.7 percent. In the last quarter itself, out of the 432 million smartphones sold, 352 million ran Android OS. And with Android being an open source operating system, it allows anyone to tweak the operating system the way they want. One can even sideload apps without downloading them from the app store, which also increases the likelihood of your smartphone getting infected by vulnerabilities. Also Read - WhatsApp testing new shortcut to quickly forward stickersAlso Read - Micromax to launch new smartphones in India on December 15: Report
Unfortunately, this also means that Android is the most desirable platform for attackers. The latest is ‘Judy’ malware that has reportedly affected 36.5 million Android devices. The current vulnerability comes after QuadRooter that reportedly put about one billion smartphones at the risk last year. Given the way we use smartphones these days, it is very crucial to protect them from such vulnerabilities. We’ve put together simple tricks that can help you in protecting your Android smartphones for free.
Keep your smartphone software updated
It is important to keep your Android software up to date as it is necessary for the device security and efficiency. They mostly provide bug fixes and security update patches, while also improving system stability and UI improvements. All you need to do is, head over to Settings > About phone and tap on Software (or System) update.
Prevent app installs from Unknown Sources
Before we get into how to disable ‘Unknown Sources’ on your Android smartphone, it is important to know the basics. By enabling ‘Unknown Sources,’ you can sideload the apps using APK files. As it bypasses the Google Play Store, there is no way of verifying whether or not the app is infected. To disable this, head over to Settings > Security > Device Administration/ Privacy and look for Unknown sources. Make sure this dialogue box is unchecked. Do note that the option may vary from one device to the other. In
Do note that the option may vary from one device to the other. In case of Redmi Note 3, which runs Xiaomi’s Custom UI, the option falls under Additional setting> Privacy. Similarly, in the case of Samsung Galaxy S8, the option falls under Settings > Lock Screen and Security > Unknown Sources.
Install antivirus software
Installing antivirus on your smartphone is the quickest and the easiest way to protect it from malware. There are a number of anti-virus apps available on the Play Store, most of them are free. AVG Antivirus, Kaspersky, Avast and CM Security Master Antivirus among others are some that you can install. ALSO READ: Judy malware hits 36.5 million Android smartphones: Check Point
Accessing Public Wi-Fi without a VPN
Free public Wi-Fi hotspots have made our lives easier. However, if you connect to a public Wi-Fi without taking proper measures, then you re the prime target of hackers. Every time you connect to the website your device has a tendency to share information to the site s servers. Your smartphone sends information about you, which includes your usernames, passwords and browsing history. To ensure your personal information is safe, install a Virtual Private Network (VPN) app to browse anonymously. A VPN will keep your personal information encrypted while it s in transit between your device and the site s servers, which in-turn offer much safer browsing experience. Technically, what happens is all your internet traffic is routed to that server where you ll be provided with a proxy I.P. address.
Android also come with integrated support for PPTP and L2TP VPNs. You can connect to these types of VPNs without installing any third-party apps. To connect to a compatible VPN, open the Settings app >tap More> select VPN option on the Wireless & Networks screen. Tap the + button and provide the VPN s details. While connected to a VPN, you will see a notification VPN activated in your notifications drawer. To disconnect, tap the notification.
Restrict downloads with a password
When it comes to Google Play purchases, you should definitely use password protection. You never know when your Android device will get in the wrong hands and an unwanted purchase is made. Then again, password protection could save you from an accidental purchases, even the ones made by your kids.
To activate the parental control, launch the Google Play store app then tap the hamburger menu button on the top right. Now tap on Settings followed by Parental Controls under User Control and toggle the button. You ll be asked to Create content PIN, and that’s it. You can set parental controls for apps, games, movies and music. ALSO READ: Before WannaCry and Judy, these 5 malware attacks wreaked havoc globally
Read and understand permissions before accepting
A lot of users don’t usually read through the terms and conditions, and the permissions granted to the apps before accepting and downloading them. For instance, a gallery app doesn’t need an access to your contacts or SMS. But, if it is granted, there is a possibility of hackers snooping your data. Head over to Settings >Apps, tap any app and then scroll down to ‘permissions.’ You can switch individual options on or off.