7 Ways to Protect Your Android Device

Protect android_header
Android devices seem to be continually under attack, with new reports of malware almost every day. However, the biggest threats against your Android phone or tablet aren’t malware, but rather unauthorized users who may access your information.

While mobile security includes detecting and blocking malicious apps, it also includes protecting physical access and encryption. Securing your Android device helps you protect your data and privacy. Just follow the following best practices.

[1] Lock Your Device
A pattern-code or a PIN can help keep unauthorized users from flipping through your phone. Pattern locking asks users to draw a specific pattern while the PIN-based symptom unlocks the screen as soon as the correct numeric code is entered. It’s good practice, though, to wipe the screen with a cloth after unlocking the device.

If you look at the device from an angle, you will likely see a trail of smudges showing what the pattern looks like or what digits are used in the PIN. If you wipe the screen, randomly run your finger across the screen in crazy patterns, or use a pattern that doubles back on its self frequently, then any smudges left behind won’t be of any use to the snoop.

Don’t leave your device lying around either, since there’s nothing stopping people from picking it up and flipping through your contacts or looking at images.

[2] Secure Google Play Purchases
Set a separate PIN for purchases in Google Play so that unauthorized users won’t be able to buy apps from the marketplace. Within the Google Play app, go to the settings menu, and then tap “Set of change PIN.” Once you’ve created the pin, select “Use PIN for purchases,” to make sure the user is prompted for the PIN before completing a transaction from the store.

[3] Install Security Software
While Android malware is still a tiny portion of threats, it still pays to install security software on the device. Most Android security tools do more than just scan for malicious apps. The tools can detect potential phishing Websites, provides information about the kind of permissions other apps are requesting, and have a variety of built-in anti-loss tools. Many security products on the market lets you remotely lock your phone, track its location via GPS, and even remotely wipe all the data from the device.

[4] Rely On Official App-Stores
Hand-in-hand with the security software recommendation is a warning: don’t install apps from dodgy third-party sites and don’t try installing the apps manually in a process called side loading.

Users should make sure apps from third-party sites can’t be loaded onto the device by unchecking “Unknown Sources” within the Settings page.

This goes for links, too. After clicking on a link in an unsolicited email or SMS, many users are prompted to download a separate app. That new app is most likely a scam. Always read reviews of apps before installing, and check the permissions the app is requesting. If any of the permissions seem a little odd, such as a car-racing game wanting to send SMS messages, then it’s best to not install the app.

[5] Don’t Root the Device
There are many reasons to root an Android device, such as to have some control over what Android operating system to run or to upgrade to a new version the carriers aren’t providing. However, rooting relies on the developers identifying a vulnerability to gain root privileges. You don’t know if the software you are looking to install is legitimate or malicious, and if you’ve rooted your device, you may be escalating that new application to gain root access.

[6] Encrypt Your Data
Android devices have full encryption to protect all the data, including Google Accounts, application data, and download information. The encryption means, however, that the user can’t access any data without the right password or PIN.

To enable this option just go to Settings->>Security->>Check Enable Encryption.

Encryption also applies to network traffic. If users regularly use a public unsecured Wi-Fi hotspot, then the eavesdropper could easily be harvesting all the profile information and interaction with others.

[7] Backup Your Data
Always backup your phone data, contacts and settings in regular intervals against Google’s servers or by connecting directly to a computer. If something ever happens to your data, you will be able to reclaim the information from the cloud service.

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31 comments on “7 Ways to Protect Your Android Device

  • Byron Jacobs says:

    I have ZoneAlarm Pro. What AV/Firewall software available for my Samsung GS3 is best/most compatible with my PC environment?

    • You may want to download AVG AntiVirus (Free) from the Play Store. I have been using it on my S3 for over a year and it seems to do the trick.

    • You can try avast they have some really good features of which most are free. The Paid version is 14.99 a year and adds more of an anti-theft and back-up to Google drive. Kaspersky has some freezing issues, lookout is another good app but to get the good protection you need to pay for it., mcafee has the best scores in mobile malate tests such as av comparatives as well as vb100. But really it’s what you like and want to work with. I work as a freelance malware analyst and regularly test mobile and computer protection against many different pieces and types. For Android I like titanium backup, avast mobile security (paid or free) secore anti virus/anti spyware ( it works with the antivirus like malwarebytes does worth a pc av). I rooted my phone but I highly agree with zone alarm not to root the Android system.

    • We have ZA Extreme Security on our computers and Lookout on our android phones. Have had no issues with them running together, using the locate phone and make it scream on numerous occasions with 3 teenagers.

  • I have Zone Alarm on my PC. Do you support my Kindle Fire HD 8.9 also ? If yes – How do I implement Zone Alarm for Kindle?

  • Philip Pears says:

    So you do not recommend any software? Has zonelabs no intentions of developing software for mobile hardware in the future?

  • I have Zone Alarm Pro which covers my PC, but not my Asus Transformer running Android 4.0.3
    When will ZA include Android in their Suite of Protection?

  • The glaring omission from all mobile security software is a proper firewall. Zonealarm provide an excellent firewall for the PC, which protects against both Incoming and (VERY importantly) unauthorised Outgoing traffic. But this degree of protection cannot be provided on Android unless you root the device. So its over to Google – lets see something in the next release which enables full firewall funcionality without users having to root their device.

  • I read a comment above that I need to reply to. I too have been using Zone Alarm for years although at times I have had to use another firewall program for compatibility issues with Steam. I use AVG since its inception pretty much and have never had a virus! As for the comment I need to reply to……to get good protection you need to pay for it…..wrong old school train of thought there…..Both Zone Alarm and AVG offer free products that are both two top of the line products that is updated and ran together will keep you safe and secure from viruses, malware, phishing sites, and hackers. I have never had any attacks, stolen info, or loss of control due to these FREE software’s lower or limited abilities. These two products are free and powerful and proven.

    • Carole Chitty says:

      I totally agree, I have used both these products since 2000, but I am now having phishing and junk mail in a mail ap supplied with my Tesco Hudl, my avg anti virus and anti-malware does not stop these, does anyone know how to block these? I used to run a website through Yahoo hosting but now a new club member has taken over the webmaster role and changed the hosting site. I now get, porn, phishing, and junk emails through this particular server, from which I need to download email but I definitely do not want this rubbish!

  • Ryan stewart says:

    I personally use AVG and Lookout at the same time. Lookout actually prevented me from downloading a fake game that had a virus in it a few years ago.

  • Stephen Kojo Miah says:

    Could you have it possible for customers who do not have debit card to buy your e products. For instance introduction of western Union Money Transfer.

    • Other than credit/ debit card we accept PayPal as an alternative payment method.

      We are unable to accept check, money order, bank transfer or western union money transfers.

  • In my android phone (Sony ultra T2) some times an App statrting with libappdatasearchext_ameabi—-.SO is installing without my permission and knowledge,i just switched off “unknown Resource installation” but still this doing again and again. Anyone can please help me hoew to avoid this.??
    Thanks in advance..

  • Carole Chitty says:

    I posted a reply to a 2013 post and got carried away with my current problem. Has Zone Alarm developed a firewall and anti virus for Android Tablets yet? I have a Tesco Hudle which is great for me as a home user.
    I have paid for Zone Alarm Security Suite on my 2 PCs and lap-top which I use for as a car club membership secretary.


    • At this point, we do not have any have solutions for Android, though that does not necessarily mean we aren’t working on it.

  • svenyanckov says:

    Just wanted to say thanks to Zone Alarm for this blog. I’ve been looking through a few of these types of articles, and usually when they are from a software company, they end up doing little more than promoting their own software.

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  • *There are some interesting points in time in this article but I don?t know if I see all of them center to heart. There is some validity but I will take hold opinion until I look into it further. Good article , thanks and we want more! Added to FeedBurner as well


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