I’m not really much of an Apple fan, but using Android apps appears to be a death race. It’s like going back to the days of the Windows platform before malware security suites were commonplace. Android as a platform is awesome and in many areas, superior to iOS. Unfortunately, someone over at Google needs to wake up and start looking at some quality control as malware is skyrocketing on Android. The obvious solution while we wait for Google to actually “do something” would be locating trustworthy, non-scam related anti-malware and get it going on Android phones immediately.
To address this obvious need, I will be highlighting effective tips you can use for security on Android as a platform. A combination of best practices, software and settings to make your mobile experience a little less dangerous.
Disable WiFi When Not in Use
Perhaps seen as a tad heavy handed, I recommend disabling your WiFi if you’re not using it. This is especially true when traveling abroad. Just as being proactive about public hotspots is important with our notebooks, the same is true when it comes to mobile devices as well. If this isn’t an option for you, at the very least turn off your Android phone’s auto-connect feature. And when you do connect on WiFi, use a VPN solution to keep others from sniffing your user accounts.
A secure password
Having a secure Android password should go without saying. Unfortunately, this is one first line of defense that is ignored far too often, because it adds an extra step in using phone features. Folks, for the love Pete, password protect your phone’s home screen. It’s easy to do and could save you from a lot of hassles down the road if your phone gets lost or stolen.
Don’t Root your Android phone
Not such a big deal for experts that fully understand the level of risk you put your Android phone in when allowing full system access without restrictions, “rooting” an Android phone for most users is just begging to be exploited with the right application. Rooting a phone is best left to developers and those who are considered Android experts. Just because the folks jailbreaking their iPhones do it, doesn’t make it very smart.
A good antivirus
Not too many years I was called crazy for even suggesting that anti-virus software would ever have value on a mobile platform. Surprise! As of today, having a decent application like Lookout Mobile Security is fast becoming a must have tool for Android users. While I’d suggest this might be a little much for advanced users, casual Android owners (which means most Android phone users) should have this software installed and running it frequently. It’s completely free. I should point out that there are other anti-virus alternatives out there, but many of them are crap. Stick with Lookout and avoid the malware bundles.
Android market is your friend
There are a number of other Android application markets available out there. And most of them carry legitimate software. This being said, many others don’t pay much attention to the applications listed and can inadvertently host something dangerous. To be fair though, all mobile platform stores have experienced bad software that caused grief for their users. But it’s the unprotected markets that should be watched the most closely. My advice is to stick to a trusted marketplace for your software downloads.