We store quite a lot of personal data on our mobile devices. As a direct implication, our phones know an awful lot about us. From where we are and our contacts to our favorite shops and hobbies, we gladly impart some of this data to get “free” services from Google and others.
But plenty of less upright companies and people are on the prowl who would also like to acquire this valuable asset.
Nowadays, it’s a good idea to keep track of where the stored data on your phone is going. Fortunately, there is an abundance of handy tools in the Android ecosystem that helps keep your information private.
VPN (Virtual Private Networks)
It’s possible for the bad guys our there to trace everything you’re downloading and looking at online. There’s a way around this and that’s by using a Virtual Private Network (VPN). Rather than directly communicating with each website you go on, a VPN service routes your traffic to a separate server or assortment of servers.
That way, your device and IP address aren’t immediately linked to an end service. They’re also used commonly to gain access to sites that are region-locked, like on-demand video streaming websites.
A number of free ones are available, but most will have some sort of catch involved. We all know the saying, if it’s a free service then assume you’re the product. Rather, choosing a paid-for option is going to result in better privacy and faster browsing speeds. We suggest Surfshark VPN as it’s fast, secure and compatible with your Android – and you can download it here.
Use the Lockscreen
Having a simple PIN, swipe gesture or password is really bare bones in terms of security that anyone can put on his or her smartphone right now. As surprising as it can sound, evidence from a prominent survey at the outset of 2016 implied that 34% of Android users don’t use this basic feature that comes with all Android smartphones.
Of course, this could have improved since then. But it’s still an important point to illustrate — some don’t take security as thoughtfully as they should. Setting up a lock screen PIN is astonishingly easy, just go over to Settings -> Security -> Screen Lock.
From there you can choose your preferred password lock type. Every time you try to access your phone you’ll be required to enter it each time. If passwords aren’t your cup of tea, a lot of phones will give you the option to unlock your phone in other ways like your fingerprint these days.
Implementing a lock screen password to your phone is a start. Still, unusually skilled and nefarious criminals can access your files if enough access to (for instance) a stolen smartphone is given.
Device encryption is a format you can put on all of your files that unreadable without first properly decrypting them with a key or a pass that you’ll only know. Encryption is a strong type of security as is why the FBI is battling with Silicon Valley enterprises in an effort to circumvent it.
Similar as with the lock screen, encryption settings can be located under the Settings -> Security path. Here you’ll find ways to guard both the information on your phone and microSD card. Encryption takes a bit of time usually, so starting with a full battery and of time to spare is best.
Find my Smartphone
Since we’re talking about the precautions you can take against stolen devices, every Android user should carve out some time to read up on Google’s Find My Phone. Previously called Android Device manager, the service links to your Google account and can remotely manage any number of Android devices if they have an Internet connection.
You will be shown a list of the devices you have connected as well as options to follow their location, send them a ring if they’ve been lost inside your couch or permit “lock & erase.”
By incorporating the last feature mentioned, you’ll have the capacity to lock your tablet or smartphone remotely. If it’s stolen, you can even delete all of the information on the device completely.
You can additionally locate these exact settings on your device directly. Go into “Google Settings” and choose Security. After you use Find My Device you can edit or review remote locking and erasing settings.
Adopting Stronger Passwords
As well as with just plain out avoiding using a lock screen, commonly used or weak codes are the biggest thing to bypass if you’re trying to preserve your data both online and on the device.
Records of the most ordinarily used passwords are distributed fairly regularly and if the password you normally use is on that list, it’s best to change it immediately. Disappointingly, the most commonly used passwords hardly change, so these are the ones to definitely stay away from:
1234567 (as with similar simple counting variations)
As a rule of thumb, a combination of numbers, cases and special characters (where permitted) are how the most secure passwords get made. The longer the better, with 8 characters usually being the bare minimum advised. Going up to 12-16 allows them to be much more hard to guess.
A tough password is good to start with, but applying many passwords is a better decision. You’ve undoubtedly heard stories about websites and how someone exposed passwords, so these days it’s not very safe at all to depend on a code for each one your apps, accounts and sites.
Without a doubt, making sure to keep track of every one of such passwords is sometimes a nightmare. However, there’s a variety of ways for applications out there to assist in managing all of your codes and can even produce extremely strong random passes.
Apps on the Android platform such as mSecure, LastPass Keepass2Android and oneSafe all offer their own options of select features for extra security. These can include secure password storing alternatives, multi-device support and two-factor authentication among others.