Top Tips to Secure Your Android Device

An android mobile phone held above a working desk

Smartphones and tablets have become essential tools in our lives. We use these devices to surf the internet, study, shop, do business, and much more. As a result, our smartphones hold vast amounts of sensitive data: family photos, calendar appointments, financial information, work emails, and so on.

The data stored in these devices make our smartphones appealing targets for hackers looking to steal our personal information. With over 70% of mobile phones running Android, devices running on the operating system are commonly targeted by hackers and other online threat actors. Here are a few ways to secure your Android device.

Update Your Operating System

One of the most effective ways to secure your Android device is to keep your operating system up to date with the latest security patches. Cybercriminals often look for vulnerabilities to exploit in the system, and software that’s been without updates for an extended period of time contains plenty of vulnerabilities. Android developers know this, so they develop and push out software updates frequently in order to combat these cybercriminals. In short, stay up-to-date with the latest updates to keep your device secure.

Use a VPN

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a service designed to provide a secure internet connection for users. The app securely encrypts all the data transmitted between your device and the VPN server, effectively keeping prying eyes away from your online activities. There are many scenarios where you may find it useful to use a VPN on your Android device to hide your traffic, especially if you use public networks often.

Turn on Google Play Protect

Android 11, the latest version of the popular operating system, comes with a built-in feature known as Google Play Protect. This is a cloud-based security system that monitors applications both in the Google Play Store and on your device. This feature is turned on by default and is always scanning your device. Go to Settings > Google > Security > Play Protect to see Google Play Protect settings.

Enable Two-Factor Authentication

Enable two-factor authentication on your Google account if you haven’t done it already. All your data is stored in your Google account, meaning you need to focus on securing it first and foremost. There are several 2FA options to choose from, with 2FA through email and/or text being the most common. Sign in to your Google account and go to Settings > My Account > 2-Step Verification to activate 2FA. 

Newer versions of the Android operating system are more secure than previous versions (again, updates are important). However, it’s important to note that as developers strive to improve device security while hackers are coming up with creative ways to steal your data. Follow the above tips to keep your Android device secure.