If you are a Smartphone owner then you must probably be aware of how incredibly useful such gadgets are how they make for tempting targets for thieves. In this day and age where technology advances in something a kin to supersonic speeds the number of malicious people out there looking to reap benefits where they have not sown are many and ever increasing in number. There are two major ways a thief could pose a threat to you when it comes to your smart phone. The first manner in which this could happen is the orthodox “snatch or grab and run” method which may involve pick pockets and or armed robbery while the second and rapidly catching on method is through the hand of hackers who siphon of private information and data using malicious software. Fortunately, the adoption of a few best practices goes a long way in helping to keep your phone and data safe.
Do not use your phone as a watch
Before jumping into the nitty-gritty on the software side of how to keep your Android phone secure the following is a quick simple tip to help keep your device safe. When people you do not know walk up to you be it at the bus stop, in the street or your favorite regular lunch time spot or restaurant and ask to know the time, it is important to remember to never pull out your phone to check the time since such requests received from strangers are a regular ploy used by thieves to try get close to you and catch you off guard. By asking you the time, thieves gain a social accepted excuse to get close to you and usually make their move when you are looking at your screen as this action makes it easier for them to reach out and snatch the phone from your hand and run off.
Use a Pattern Lock or PIN Code
A pattern lock or PIN code helps mobile phone owners keep unwanted individuals from going through their phone. The recent versions of Android feature an application referred to as “Face Lock” that lets Android phone owners use their facial image to unlock their phones. Though it sounds amazing and futuristic, this technology is unfortunately not so secure and can be eluded with something as elementary as a photograph. Smartphone owners should therefore secure their phones using a PIN code which prompts phone owners to enter a numerical code to unlock their devices or a pattern lock that requires users to draw a particular pattern on their Smartphone device screens in order to gain access. Though both security measures are relatively secure they still share one common low technology soft spot; i.e. smudges.
The problem that smudges present is that they provide others with a small idea of what your PIN code or Pattern lock may be in the sense that if you unlock your device then look at it from an angle, you are very likely to observe a trail of smudges illustrating what digits your pin code consist of or what your pattern lock looks like. However, even if a stranger is able to determine the five or four digit numbers that make up your PIN code it still leaves room for hundreds of permutations. Be that as it may, it is still recommended that Smartphone owners give their screens a quick wipe after keying in their code or alternatively for Pattern lock uses to randomly run their finger over it in a crazy pattern.
Install an Anti-Virus Application and Track Your Smartphone
Installing one of the many an anti-virus application available online for Smartphone devices such as AVG also goes a long way in helping to keep your phone safe from internal harm. Modern Android anti-virus application’s today do much more than simply scan your phone for malicious and or suspicious applications or programs. Such software is nowadays built to provide an unquestionable all-purpose tool that protects Smartphones from all kinds of threats. Smartphone anti-virus applications seek out harmful links that users may click on unknowingly or by mistake and inform phone users on what applications may be spying on them while some such applications on the market today go as far as killing tasks to keep your phone running at an optimum level.
“Lockout” and AVG’s “Anti Virus Free are two of the best free mobile applications on the market which each offer different features – providing the options of choice among consumers with varying Smartphone security needs. Apart from offering Smartphone users protection from harmful applications or malicious links both Lockout and Anti Virus Free incorporate features that allow users to lock their phones, track their location using GPS and amazingly even wipe all data or information off it if users feel their phones have landed in the wrong hands and have lost all hope of ever recovering their devices again. Those of you out there who are really forgetful and can never remember where they placed their phones also benefit from the fantastic features of anti-virus applications as some such application son the market have a feature that enables the phone to give off an alarms so that users are alerted as to its location.
Selectively Enable Device Administrators
There are a number of applications on the market that allow Smartphone users to set them up as administrators. Doing so provides such applications with special powers and additionally makes them problematic to uninstall. This of course is a great thing when it comes to Lock out or other similar such ant-virus applications but when it comes to other application it is recommended that they work without this extra permission. As a generally guiding principal it is usually recommended that an application be set as a device administrator ONLY if you as the installer unquestionably trust it and have a real need for its extended features. Applications that offer security services have a justifiable reason for requesting to be made administrators but programs or applications such as games etc. have no justifiable ground to make such a request. Allow an application to set itself up as an administrator can have its advantages but generally recommended that Smartphone users exercise caution when determining which applications are granted such rights and which are not. To check out your Smartphone list of device administrator’s access:
Settings > Security > Device Administrators
Avoid Side Loading Software
It is generally advised that Smartphone owners leave “Unknown Sources” unchecked in their security settings. All android applications are distributed and packaged as APK files. Smartphone users can take an APK file save it on their device then install it directly. There are a number of users how opt for this because it allows them to pirate games and applications or install applications on available via Google Play store. Android is typically by default set up to hinder third party installations but there are situations where users to disable such an option so as to install trusted third party applications like the Amazon Application Store however, unless your one of those users who are constantly downloading third party installations, it’s recommended that you keep this feature turned on. To verify that your Smartphone device is configured in such a manner all you need to do is go to: Settings > Security then check to ensure that “Unknown Sources” is NOT checked.
Keeping your Android Smartphone safe is not only about high tech gimmicks, tricks and applications but mostly about the adoption of best practices. By adopting best practices and above all using common sense all Smartphone users can both effectively and effortlessly keep their devices safe from harm’s way.