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Android phones are used by hundreds of millions of people worldwide - favoured by those who want an adaptable device which is more compatible than the iPhone. But how secure is Android technology - and can we improve upon it?
Android phones come with a huge number of default security features to help secure your phone and the information and data it contains from hackers, the authorities and corporations who would want to take it.
Most of these features can be altered and increased to give you the maximum possible level of protection, and remove any concerns you might have about the large amount of personal information your phone contains. We have so much private and sensitive data collected in these devices that is valuable, so having the absolute best security possible on them is essential.
This is the most obvious of all the necessary security settings to upgrade on an Android phone. The default setting (depending on which type of Android phone you own) tends to be a PIN code - but don’t just choose the standard 4 digit pin. Pick a longer number, or an alphanumeric code (a combination of numbers and letters) for maximum security.
Androids also offer a Smart Lock setting, which leaves your phone unlocked when it is what Android consider to be a “safe” environment, such as your office, pocket or home. This setting can be switched off by going to Settings > Lock Screen Security > Smart Lock and selecting “Turn Off”.
Lockdown mode also allows you to lock your phone down, blocking all smart lock features like fingerprint or facial recognition. You will have to use a PIN or password to unlock it, but be aware this only works once before needing to be switched on again.
It is common now when setting up any new account, if it is an email address or online banking, to have two factor authentication. This means that you can confirm your identity through a separate factor (password, passcode or secret word) to the one you use when you open your device. So even if someone hacks your phone’s PIN or password, they’ll still need another to get to your information.
To set this up on your Android phone go to Settings > Google > Manage your Google Account and then choose the Security tab. Within that you will see an option for 2 Step Verification. Sign into the Google account you have associated to your phone and then follow the on screen steps to set up.
Everybody knows that apps constantly ask us for permission to access our cameras, location, contacts and calendar. What many smartphone users don’t realise is that a lot of these apps do not actually require these permissions to function at all, the companies who own them just want access to your data.
Android phones allow us to change the permissions these apps are given quite easily. Go to Settings > Apps and then select Permissions. This will present a long list of the apps on your Android device, with the various permissions they have been given. Simply select the ones you want to change and apply the new permissions you wish to give them.
Android’s Find My Device feature, much like Find My iPhone, allows you to track the whereabouts of your Android phone remotely if it has been lost or stolen.
In order for it to work properly on an Android phone, you have to be sure that a few settings are correct. Your phone must be turned on, signed into a Google account, have Location turned on, be connected to either mobile data or wifi, be visible on Google Play and of course have Find My Device turned on. From your home screen, go to Apps > Settings > Google (Google services), before allowing the device to be located by tapping Location, then Security and then turn on Remotely Locate this Device.
Getting a virtual private network for your Android phone is very simple, and provides a level of security and anonymity beyond what the average phone user is able to achieve.
Having a VPN means you can connect to public wifi without worrying about hackers intercepting your data, whilst also bypassing things like geographic restrictions and licensing laws which may prevent you from using services you already pay for.
Download BlufVPN for Android to make sure your phone has the best security available - our dynamic encryption protects your data from people who want to steal it.