This guide, gives tips from top-notch Android security experts (like Lukas Stefanko, Cameron Camp, Jake Moore and others) on protecting your personal information and keeping your Android device safe. In addition to the tips above, be sure to check out other resources and keep up with the latest privacy threats and best practices.
Android phones are becoming more commonplace each day, and as a result, our data privacy is in jeopardy. With the Android OS come many settings that provide us with tools to control some of this data. While it’s impossible to be totally off the grid from your cell provider or block everything that tracks your activity across multiple platforms, it is possible to handle your phone’s privacy settings in a smart and effective way.
Keeping track of where we go, what we search for on the internet and other digital communications are all possible with an Android OS. Through its various settings, Android 13 allows us to adjust some of these attributes to minimize the amount of data companies can collect about us. However, this comes at a cost as some features may be less convenient to use. It’s important that you consider these trade-offs before you decide which options will work best for you when setting up your device’s privacy protection.
This is an excellent starting point if you want to quickly set up your phone’s security without spending too much time exploring all the available features
Conduct thorough research on privacy best practices for your Android device
When it comes to keeping your Android device secure, conducting thorough research on privacy best practices is key. Knowing the safety measures you can take to better secure your device will mean that you’re less likely to get caught up in a security breach.
For starters, make sure that two-factor authentication is enabled on your device and consider setting a strong passcode and even disabling fingerprint or facial login if additional safety measures are necessary.
Auditing app permissions is another smart move in order to ensure that any suspicious apps with high levels of access aren’t being allowed onto your device. Enabling automatic updates, as well as Find My Device, are also essential steps in protecting your sensitive information from cybercriminals.
Lastly, give your Google account a privacy check-up and disable personalized ads and keep any sensitive notifications off of the lock screen of your phone. You should also quickly block the access to the camera or microphone on certain apps or websites and always keep an eye on your clipboard for any unwanted activity. Utilizing end-to-end encryption when using Messages can add an extra layer of protection as well.
Implement two-factor authentication for added security
Two-factor authentication is one of the best ways to ensure the security of your Android device. By enabling two-factor authentication, you are adding a second layer of security to your account. This means that each time someone tries to log in from an unfamiliar device, they also need to provide a one-time-use code alongside your password.
Should you choose to enable two-factor authentication for your Google Account, it’s easy to do. Just head over to myaccount.google.com/security and sign into your account. After selecting “2-Step Verification”, follow the onscreen instructions for approving the login and getting backup codes for when you need them.
Once this is complete, every time someone attempts to access your account from another device, they will need access not just through your password, but also via your phone as they will need verify their identity using either an authenticated app or a security key. Implementing two-factor authentication gives you an added sense of security and peace of mind knowing that your device and its data are protected at all times.
Set a complex passcode and consider disabling fingerprint or face login
It’s important to set a complex passcode and consider disabling fingerprint or face login for Android security. Having a strong passcode can protect your phone’s contents if it is lost or stolen, as you don’t want strangers to access your sensitive data such as emails, banking apps, messages, and photos.
You also have the option of using biometric logins (such as facial scans or fingerprints), however depending on your circumstance this may be more vulnerable to being accessed by law enforcement. Therefore it may be safer to stick with just the passcode.
When creating your password make sure the code is long enough and contains both letters and numbers – this way it’ll be harder to guess and will better protect you in case of theft or loss. Thus, setting up a complex passcode and disabling hard logins can greatly increase your security on an Android device!
Carefully review and manage app permissions
If you’re an Android user, it’s important to carefully review and manage app permissions. Every time you install an app, it will request for access to different hardware and system services like the camera microphone, location or something else. It’s too easy to mindlessly tap through such notifications.
It’s possible that some apps can be collecting data they don’t need to function correctly, such as your location information. From Android 11 onwards, the operating system automatically resets permissions if you haven’t used certain apps for a while but it’s still good practice to audit them every now and then.
Give attention to all services the apps are asking permission for. Making sure app permissions align with what is required will help keep your device secure
Enable automatic updates to ensure your device is up-to-date with the latest security patches
One of the best tips for ensuring the security and privacy of your Android device is to enable automatic updates. When either the operating system or any apps that you have downloaded on your phone receive an update, these often contain important security fixes that are designed to protect your device from threats. By enabling automatic updates, it ensures that these fixes will occur without needing any additional effort from you.
You don’t need to worry about the operating system as it’s already set to automatically update by default.
With automatic updates enabled, you can be sure that all safety measures have been taken care of and your device is fully up-to-date with all the latest security patches, providing a safe environment for both yourself and your phone.
Activate the Find My Device feature in case your device is lost or stolen
Loss or theft of your Android device can be very worrying. To give yourself the best chance of recovering it, you should activate the Find My Device feature. This feature makes it easy to locate your phone if you think it has fallen into the wrong hands, and it also allows you to remotely wipe your private data so that no one else can access it.
This lets you both locate and remotely wipe data from your phone if needed, giving you peace of mind in case something goes wrong. It’s an essential security measure that everyone using an Android device should activate.
Keep sensitive notifications hidden from the lock screen
Keeping your phone secure is a must in today’s society, especially for Android users. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent a stranger from getting a peek at sensitive information displayed on the lock screen.
One of the most important tips is to keep notifications containing private or confidential information hidden from the lock screen. By turning this off, no one else can access this type of information if they get their hands on your device.
If you are serious about keeping your Android secure, then taking this simple step is essential. And it could be the difference between having a moment of embarrassment and an overall data breach!
Disable personalized ads for a more private browsing experience
If you’re looking for improved privacy when using your Android device, disabling personalized ads can help. Companies commonly use ad tracking to serve personalized ads, but this type of tailored advertising based on marketing profiles can be quite intrusive. With Google and many apps collecting a lot of data about you, your movement across different apps is easier to follow thanks to a unique advertising ID. This data is sometimes sold without your knowledge.
With this option disabled, you’ll enjoy a more private browsing experience with better security against tracking.
- StrongPity espionage campaign targeting Android users: ESET researchers identified an active StrongPity campaign distributing a trojanized version of the Android Telegram app, presented as the Shagle app.
- Bahamut cybermercenary group targets Android users with fake VPN apps: Malicious apps used in this active campaign exfiltrate contacts, SMS messages, recorded phone calls, and even chat messages from apps such as Signal, Viber, and Telegram.
- Domestic Kitten campaign spying on Iranian citizens with new FurBall malware: APT-C-50’s Domestic Kitten campaign continues, targeting Iranian citizens with a new version of the FurBall malware masquerading as an Android translation app.
- Three most dangerous types of Android malware: Malware that takes phones and data hostage, RATs that allow hackers to control devices remotely, and malware that exfiltrates sensitive information.
- Fake e-shops on the prowl for banking credentials using Android malware: ESET researchers analyzed three malicious applications targeting customers of eight Malaysian banks.
- Crypto malware in patched wallets targeting Android and iOS devices: ESET Research uncovers a sophisticated scheme that distributes trojanized Android and iOS apps posing as popular cryptocurrency wallets.
- BladeHawk group: Android espionage against Kurdish ethnic group: ESET researchers have investigated a mobile espionage campaign that targets the Kurdish ethnic group and has been active since at least March 2020.
- Some URL shortener services distribute Android malware, including banking or SMS trojans: On iOS, link shortener services pushing spam calendar files to victims’ devices have been observed.
Perform a privacy check-up on your Google account settings
It’s important to give your Google account a privacy check-up if you want to ensure that your data is being handled responsibly. Google collects a vast amount of information on your activities, so it’s important to take the time to look through its settings and adjust them if you’re not comfortable with what is being stored.
One way to do this is by using the Privacy Checkup feature on Google, which can help you review and customize your settings regarding data collection and retention. As part of this process, you may want to look into disabling certain features like Web & App Activity, Location History and YouTube search & watch history if you don’t want Google collecting too much information about your activities. You should also remember to make sure that geolocation is removed from any photos or items shared through links by enabling the “remove geolocation in items shared by link” setting on Google Photos. Last but not least, don’t forget to head over the “Other Google activity” page, where you can find various additional settings for news preferences, product surveys and price tracking – all of which can be deleted or adjusted as per your preference.
Overall, taking the time out for a privacy check-up of all the settings tied to your Google account will give you greater control over how much data they store – ensuring peace of mind while using their services.
Quickly block access to the camera or microphone to prevent unauthorized use
One of the simplest tips for maximizing security on your Android device is to quickly block access to your camera or microphone. You might not always be aware when these pieces of hardware are being used, or you may want an extra layer of protection against misuse while you step away from a call. Fortunately, this can easily be done by accessing the Quick Settings menu and tapping the options to block the camera or mic. This is a great way to avoid having to manually adjust settings within apps or worry about unauthorized use while you’re away from your device. With just one tap, you can ensure that your Android remains secure and that any potentially risky access is blocked out at all times!
Utilize end-to-end encryption in messaging apps to protect your conversations
Utilizing end-to-end encryption in messaging apps is one of the best ways to ensure your conversations are secure. End-to-end encryption ensures that only you and the person you’re messaging can view the contents of a message. By utilizing these options, you can rest assured that your conversations will stay secure and private.