Our Android smartphones have become our closest companions and confidants as they carry lots of personal data and even sensitive documents relating to work and business. Some of these include e-mails, passwords, messages, contacts, photos and videos. Therefore it is of paramount importance to secure your handset to prevent fraudsters from gaining access to it. It is also important to ensure that in case it falls into the wrong hands, your data and information stay safe. Some of the ways to do this are outlined below.
Password Your Device
All Android phones have the options of using either a pattern lock or an alphanumeric password (numbers and letters). When using the pattern lock, ensure that it is not an easy to guess pattern but one that you can remember and make sure no other person knows the password for the Gmail account associated with your device. For the alphanumeric password, it is best to use numbers, letters and symbols together but it should be something you can remember, don’t use passwords like 12345, your name, birthday or other things that someone can look up. In both cases, do not tell anyone your password and ensure no one sees you when drawing your pattern.
All Android devices from Android version 2.2 and above come with a special feature you can use to track and manage your device. Check for Google Settings on your device denoted by a grey icon with small letter ‘g’ and a gear symbol. Open the app and choose the ‘Android Device Manager’ option, you will then see various options for locating, remote locking and factory resetting of your device in case it gets lost or is stolen.
Then you can log on to the Android Device Manager website www.google.com/android/ devicemanager using your Gmail account to control your phone from any location.
Use an Antivirus
Hackers, spyware and other bad stuff can get access to your phone through surfing the net, downloading files, running apps amongst other things. To guard against these threats, it is best to uses an AntiVirus app. There are several free and paid antivirus apps such as AVG AntiVirus Security Free, Avast Mobile Security, Norton Security antivirus, etc. Free antivirus apps are good enough but if you want better protection, go for the paid options.
Some of the antivirus apps can help track your phone if stolen or misplaced, remotely wipe your data to prevent intrusion and even make a loud sound to help you locate it. It is best to have only one antivirus software on your device as having more than one can cause your device to run slowly.
Install an Anti-Theft App to Snap the Thief
You might have heard of some thieves who were caught after the phones the stole took their photos and sent them to the real owners of the phones. You can do it too however only if your device has a front camera, there are many apps in the Google PlayStore which have that capability most of which are paid.
Some are Cerberus Anti-Theft and Lockwatch Anti-Theft by Bloketech. These apps use the device’s front camera to take a photo of the thief when he/she attempts to unlock the device with a wrong password. It will then send the photo and phone location to you via email which makes it easy for you to catch the thief, its better you go with law enforcement officers and not alone.
The apps work silently so the thief won’t know he/she is been photographed.
Track Your Device
As earlier said, there are a lot of apps in the PlayStore which can help you secure your phone. When you install the app, make sure you do all it asks you to do so that you can track your phone, you might need to open an account online on the app vendor’s website to help you track and remotely control the device, make sure you do that. Once it goes missing, use the app to track its location using the instructions in the app and do any of the following lock it, unlock it, send a message to the thief, take his/her photo or wipe the data on the phone depending on the app. If the phone doesn’t have an internet connection, you can send an SMS command to it and its location will be sent back to you.
Best Practices for Securing Your Phone
· Don’t download attachments from e-mails sent by unknown contacts.
· Before you install an app, look at the permissions it asks for and allow or deny as you want.
· Install only well rated apps e.g. those with at least 1000 downloads except it’s by someone you know well.
· Don’t give an app access to your social media accounts e.g. Google, Facebook and Twitter except for a very good reason; it’s not compulsory that if an app requests access to your accounts that it be allowed.