Google’s Android OS is the world’s most popular mobile operating system and runs on millions of smartphones around the globe. It is designed as an open OS, which means that anyone can publish apps for it.
As an end user, you should be careful while using Android devices, as Android malware can cause big damage, as performance drop, huge data bills, battery drain issues, and so on.
Unlike on iOS, where Apple controls what apps get into its App Store, on Android, users can allow third-party software installations, thus exposing their devices to potential malware infections.
However, like any other computer system, Android has settings that help you stay on the safe side. Thus, the default setting prevents users from downloading apps from unknown sources, enabling only the Play store.
And the best way to protect yourself is to keep unknown sources deactivated on your phone or tablet and always install applications from official market places.
Another important tip is to read the permissions. Each time an app is installed on your Android phone – whether it’s from Google Play or another source – the app will declare permissions, telling you what it has access to do on your phone.
Reading the permissions might be an annoying task for users, but it’s paramount to know what that app will be able to access. So don’t just foolishly click to accept any permissions, as you might regret it later. Beware that some apps request access to the camera, the Internet, your contacts, or maybe record your keystrokes, know your precise location or even send emails.
Furthermore, if you want to keep your mobile device safe, don’t click on suspicious links you might receive via email or other type of text messages. Email hacking is very popular nowadays, so avoid clicking on dodgy links, and additionally flag the message that contains it as spam or junk mail. When receiving a suspicious link to an app via email, think twice about installing it. And if you want to learn how to avoid falling victim to email hacking, read more here.
Moreover, those who want to be super careful and avoid virus and malware should use an antivirus app. Choose one of the big names out there or check if your favourite antivirus developer has a mobile version of their antivirus. Install it and run it to check for any potential malware on your device.
We also recommend updating your devices as soon as there is a new software update released. Updates are very important as they keep you safe from known security holes, add improvements and bug fixes, and could prevent your device from being hacked and your data from being shared with the world. In order to install an OS update, you have to give the device permission, accept the updated agreement terms, and then go through with the download and installation.
And last but not least, try not to place too much sensitive information on your smartphone or tablet. Considering that we now work, shop and even bank from our phones, sensitive information left unprotected exposes us to theft and safety risks. In order to avoid data theft, keep your personal data private.