Basic Android functions to be enabled for essential smartphone security
The Android system has some essential safety functions to prevent hacker attacks or malware intrusions, but in some cases we will have to activate the advanced security ourselves or proceed with the installation of some apps that strengthen the security of the phone.
In the following guide we will show you how to make android more secure (virus and hacker proof), whatever phone we have.
READ ALSO -> Smartphone protection and safer screen unlock for Android
1) Encrypt your phone
Encryption on your phone should always be turned on: with it our data will not be recoverable, at least not knowing the phone lock password. By now smartphones are so powerful that they are not affected by the weight of encryption (the data must be decrypted in real time); many devices (like Pixels and Samsungs) use a dedicated chip for secure access to encrypted dataso as not to compromise the read and write performance on the internal memory.
Per turn on phone encryptionjust take us to the Security settings and search for the item Encrypt phone o Phone encryption.
After having encrypted the phone, the system password will be requested each time it is turned on, so as to be sure that only we can use the smartphone and the data it contains.
2) Use fingerprint lock screen
The screen lock is essential for the security of an Android smartphone; there are several ways to lock your phone but the safest of all is Fingerprintvery difficult to copy.
The screen lock is configured in Settings -> Screen lock; from this menu we activate the access with the fingerprintavoiding the use of facial recognition on most Android phones, unless you have front cameras with infrared sensors.
In another article we have seen which screen lock is more secure on android.
Anyone who wants to have a more comfortable life can also make sure that the lock screen is activated automatically when you leave the house and unlock at home.
3) Activate Google Play Protect
All Android phones have a built-in antivirus called Google Play Protect; we can check that it is correctly activated by opening the Google Play Store, pressing on the top right of the user profile, clicking on Play Protectthen at the top right on the gear icon and activating the two items Scan apps with Play Protect e Improve detection of malicious apps.
This antivirus scans the apps we download or update and it is able to block harmful apps before they can do system damage, scam users, or steal personal data.
On this security feature we can read our guide on how to activate google play protect to protect android.
4) Constantly update apps
By always downloading app updates we will prevent hackers from exploiting flaws and bugs in browsers (the most exposed apps) or in any app where links or attachments from the Internet are opened. Basically Android updates all the apps when we are connected to a Wi-Fi network but (since operators now offer over 100 Giga in Internet offers) it is worth always updating the apps even when we are on a mobile network.
To constantly update the apps, open the Google Play Store, press the user profile at the top right, press on Settingslet’s go to the menu Network Preferenceswe open the menu Automatically update apps and tick the voice Through any network.
5) Update the operating system
An updated operating system will allow us to resist hacker attacks, avoiding the most dangerous ransomware and viruses that spread through chats or through infected links via email. Unfortunately from this point of view Android has always been very lacking, given that the main phone manufacturers they support the devices for only two years (sometimes even less).
In any case it is worth it always look for new updatesinstall security updates provided by Google itself and target only manufacturers who constantly update their devices, as seen in our guide to manufacturers that update Android devices faster.
6) Only use Google apps
Google apps are updated regularly, even on older phones or phones that don’t have system updates; by focusing on Google apps we will have additional security and we will be able to avoid the vast majority of viruses and hacker attacks.
To be on the safe side, we advise you to use the apps Google Chrome, Gmail, Google Calendar, Google phone, Contacts, Messages, Google Meet, Files by Google, Google Keep, Google Photo and the keyboard Gboardignoring all manufacturer apps or apps that are already on the device but out of date.
If we want to use other Google apps we can read the article about all Google Apps for Android smartphones.
7) Install a VPN
Those who often use the phone outside the home can increase security by using a VPN connection, thus hiding our identity behind an anonymous IP address. Using a VPN brings several advantages:
- if a hacker identifies our IP address, all we have to do is turn off the VPN or change servers to lose track of us;
- a hacker spying on the traffic of a public Wi-Fi hotspot network will not be able to see our data, which will be unreadable under a VPN connection;
- many VPN servers have additional protection systems, capable of blocking unwanted content or malicious links before we open them on the phone.
If you don’t know which VPN to use on your phone, we invite you to read the guides to best free VPN for anonymous surfing on the phone and at best unlimited vpn for smartphones.
8) Install an antivirus checker app
If Google Play Protect is not enough to guarantee the security of our phone, we download many files or open many links from chats or attachments an additional security app is worth installing. The best antiviruses for Android are:
- Bitdefender Antivirus
- Panda Dome Antivirus
- ESET Mobile Security Antivirus
- Norton 360: Mobile Security
For further information, we can read the guide to best antivirus and antimalware apps for android.
Androidas an operating system, it has multiple layers of protection to keep malware and dangerous apps out requesting specific permissions to keep data safe. However, Android is also an open system, much more open than an iPhone, that trusts the user and its developer community.
We avoid giving permissions to all apps and also avoid installing root permissionswhich can compromise the security of Android (many banking apps do not start if there is root in the system, a sign that this change should be made only if perfectly aware of what we are doing).
On this subject we can read the guides on how to authorize application permissions on android come on how to connect your phone to public charging points safely.