Our devices hold important aspects of our lives, from work to personal communication and financial information. It’s crucial that we take the necessary steps to safeguard our devices and prevent unauthorized access from unwanted individuals.
Hackers look to access our devices to gain information, often leading to identity theft. Identity theft led to $51 billion in losses in 2021 alone, so we all must do our best to uphold essential security protocols for our devices.
Here’s a list of crucial steps to stave off cyber threats from all your devices.
Don’t Take Cyber Threats for Granted
We’ll start right here with the least apparent point. We say this because lax attitudes toward device security are a rampant issue. In other words, most people do not think they can fall victim to a hacker’s threats. Often, this is because people don’t believe themselves worthy targets.
But hacking is a long game with small steps toward a big payoff. Hackers seek personal information from many everyday people, that adds up to a big reward.
Hackers don’t seek the billionaire bankers straight away; they seek lots of people just like you and us.
The mere fact that you’re reading this article already separates you from the herd.
So what can you do beyond raising awareness?
Don’t Install Any Old Apps. Always Check Sources
The number one way hackers infiltrate your devices is through apps. Android allows users to download apps outside of the Google Play Store. When you download apps inside the Google Play Store, Google security screens those apps, making it a safer experience. However, when you venture outside the Google Play Store, your risk of bloated malware increases.
Always understand and trust the source from which you intend to download an app. Because once you install a malicious app, the malware and viruses begin to do their work. Following that, it is only a matter of time before your personal information enters the black market.
Google Play Store is the most trusted source for Android apps because it has built-in mechanisms to scan apps for malicious code.
If you must, only use trusted third-party stores and be wary of apps that ask for unnecessary permissions. A flashlight app, for instance, has no business accessing your contacts.
Update, Update, Update Your Device
We can’t say this enough, update your devices to the latest OS versions. We understand how annoying those update alerts can feel. They’re often inconvenient. But in the modern world, we use our devices so frequently that finding a “convenient” time is difficult.
But you need to understand that most OS updates offer enhanced security protocols typically based on current malware or other nefarious threats. The update seeks to protect your device further.
When you leave your device on an old OS, your risk level vastly increases.
So yes, updating your phone may feel annoying, but it is critical to your personal data’s safety.
Leverage The Power of Security Software
There are many reputable security apps available that can provide an extra layer of protection for your Android device. These apps can help protect against malware, help you locate your device if it’s lost, and even lock or wipe it remotely.
Some recommended apps include Avast, Bitdefender, and McAfee. You’ll need to do your homework on those apps to decide which work for you and which are cost-friendly.
You Might Consider a VPN
VPNs help disguise your IP address which is a critical security step, particularly when you’re on public WiFi. And we’re constantly on public WiFi with our phones.
You should realize your phone automatically connects to your grocery store’s WiFi. When this happens, hackers can sometimes gain access to your info.
When you leverage a VPN, your IP address changes, and the hacker can’t get into your device. We won’t get into all the logistics of how VPN’s protect your personal data, but we will suggest you read up on the subject and take some steps to increase your device security while out and about.
Here’s a solid list of some reputable VPN apps for Android devices.
Be Cautious with Public WiFi
We mentioned this in our above VPN section, but, Public WiFi networks can be a breeding ground for cyber threats.
Avoid doing sensitive activities like online banking or shopping when connected to a public WiFi network. If you aren’t on a VPN, consider not using the WiFi.
Be Aware of Phishing Attacks
Phishing attacks can come in the form of emails, SMS messages, or even phone calls. Be cautious of any communication that asks for your personal information or prompts you to click on a suspicious link. Always verify the source before taking any action.
Limit App Permissions
Many apps ask for permissions that they don’t need to function. Be wary of such apps and limit their access to your personal information. Android allows you to manage app permissions individually in the settings.
By taking these steps, you can significantly enhance the security of your Android device and protect your valuable data from potential cyber threats.
Remember, digital security is not a one-time task but a continuous process. So stay informed about the latest threats and take the necessary steps to keep your device safe.