Android is currently an extremely common operating system, as it is installed on most of the smartphones and tablets used around the world. In May 2017, the number of active devices with Android on board exceeded 2 billion. Now this figure is likely to be even greater.
Of course, such popularity attracts many cyber criminals. Despite all the efforts of OS developers to protect users, the value of hacking remains high, for it is enough to find one critical vulnerability to gain access to the devices and data of a huge number of users. As long as Android is so popular, they will try to hack it in one way or another.
There is only one way out: to take the initiative into your own hands, and try to protect yourself as much as possible, not relying solely on the skill of programmers at Google.
How to secure your Android?
This article will list the most basic and accessible to all users tips that will significantly help reduce the risk of infection of your device. From sophisticated and professional attacks, this is unlikely to help, but these are rare cases. 80% of infections, if not more, occur according to one of those sources, which will be described below.
Use the latest version of Android
The new version of Androyd is not only the new design of application icons and the appearance of the menu, but also the eliminated vulnerabilities. Therefore, updating the OS is an important parameter, since this is the foundation of all your work with a smartphone or tablet. It is pointless to try to protect yourself from vulnerabilities in applications or through settings if the OS itself has an old version with long-discovered and uncorrected security holes.
But unfortunately, this is not the most affordable method of protection. For simply taking and installing a new version of the OS on your smartphone will not work. Although this depends on the manufacturer of the device: some of them accompany their models for a long time, sending airborne security updates, and including may prepare an update to the next version of Android. But if you use a device from a second-rate manufacturer, then God forbid if at all any updates arrive. In fact, the device is abandoned a year after the start of sales.
Of course, there is an option to try to flash the device yourself. But. Firstly, a smartphone usually doesn’t have custom firmware two versions higher. In any case, I have never seen such a thing. Secondly, on a very small number of devices, you can find normal firmware, for which it’s worth the hassle. Usually these are some very popular devices. And thirdly, this procedure, in principle, is not very simple, and even a little dangerous. There is always a chance, albeit a small one, to brick the device.
For the most part, you can affect this parameter only in one case: if you are going to purchase a new device. In this case, try to take a device with a more recent version, and it's better to look at manufacturers such as Nokia, Samsung and Xiaomi. This is not a subjective wish, but a fact based on the latest statistics, according to which it is these manufacturers that are the best and fastest to accompany their old models.
You can familiarize yourself with these statistics here.
Install apps only from app stores
By these stores, I mean places like the Play Market, ApkPure, F-droid, Samsung Galaxy Apps, and the like. I must say right away that this remedy is not a panacea, as many believe. Protection and verification of applications in the Play Market Google-protection, for the most part only words. There have been cases of mass infections of devices through downloadable applications in this store. But I will say more about this below.
For now, I’ll just say that if you don’t have a task to install some very specific application, then try to stick to such sources. The fact is that even in the same Play Market, any added application, after all, is checked. But downloading the apk file on the Internet you play the lottery, because nobody will ever vouch for its contents.
This is especially true for free downloadable games on the Internet. Scammers annually catch a huge number of users on this fishing rod.
Avoid popular apps
The very thing that I promised to mention. What do you think is easier to do: find a gap in the operating system itself, and try to attack users' devices directly, or infect some popular application by doing file spoofing, or by performing a man-in-the-middle attack? Of course, the second. And now the second question. Which application is more profitable to try to compromise: the one that thousands of users around the world download every day, or those that are already covered with a layer of dust in the bowels of search results in the Play Market?
Of course, the more popular. For there will be a chance to gain access to a much larger number of user devices, since the application is often installed on smartphones and tablets.
Therefore, advice: avoidance