How to Protect Your Android Device from Malware

It’s hard to think of your smartphone being susceptible to malware, but it’s important to realize that any device that connects to the internet can be affected by online security attacks. Surprisingly, it may be even easier to acquire malware on your smartphone compared to your PC because your device is less likely to be secured, and malware is sometimes attached to popular smartphone apps. The Google Play Store is part of the problem, as the apps are not screened quite as thoroughly as they are on Apple’s App Store.

Fortunately Google has been trying to increase the security of the apps they offer in the Google Play Store recently. There are other ways you can acquire malware on your Android device though, so even with the Google Play Store improving, your device is not going to become immune to security threats. No need to worry though, because with a very small bit of effort on your part, you can easily protect your Android device from malware.

Here’s how:

Install Security Apps

One of the most important steps in preventing malware is to have the proper security apps installed on your device. Like your desktop computer, you can start off with an anti-virus app. There are many to choose from and a fairly large selection that are free to use.

Certain anti-virus apps even offer more than just the usual virus scanning capabilities, featuring anti-theft options that can help you track down and wipe data off of your device if it’s ever stolen. Though an anti-virus app will do a good job at keeping your device protected, certain security attacks can still slip through the cracks and wreak havoc.

Because of this, it’s recommended that you also install a Virtual Private Network (VPN) app. Using both apps on your device should prevent it from acquiring malware, though there are additional benefits to having each one as well. A VPN is a remote server that you route your online traffic through, which encrypts your connection and hides your location.

VPNs are particularly helpful if you tend to connect to public or shared WiFi networks (many Android users commonly do), as it’s easier for hackers to gain access to your device when your connection is unsecure. It will also come in handy when you’re traveling or located in an area that has a lot of geo-blocked content because it can unblock websites.

Pay Attention To Your Downloads

Besides having security apps installed, it’s important that you take some additional preventative measures. Security apps can help keep the hackers and malware out of your device, but there’s always a small chance that one of these security threats could still slip through the cracks and make its way on to your smartphone or tablet. One of the things you can do to prevent this from occurring is to pay attention to your downloads.

If you’re downloading apps from the Google Play Store, read the reviews first to see if any of the other users have encountered an issue with it. If the reviews look good, you’ll also want to read the User Permissions that pop up after you tap to download the app. Certain apps might be asking for access to parts of your device that don’t seem related to the apps’ functions.

For example, if a flashlight app is asking for access to your photos or contacts list, it’s probably best to avoid downloading it. If anything seems suspicious in the User Permissions, it might be better to err on the side of caution. When downloading anything online, always use a trusted source as well.

Be Wary Of Hyperlinks

Hyperlinks can sometimes lead you to malicious websites, so it’s important to know ways you can check if a site is legitimate. On some Android devices, you can check the hyperlink without opening the page by pressing down on the link and holding your finger there for a moment. A screen might appear that will show you the URL, so you can check to see if it’s one you’re familiar with.

Hyperlinks can appear almost anywhere: on websites, text messages, emails, and even apps. Emails that contain malicious links can sometimes even appear as though they have been sent from a familiar contact, so it’s always a good idea to look for signs that might suggest that the email was either sent from a different email address or that your contact might have had their account hacked. The main things you might notice are changes in writing style and a message that would persuade you to click on the hyperlink.

Malware

It can be lurking almost anywhere on the net, and despite taking security measures, there’s always a very slight chance that you could end up with it on your device. However, taking preventative steps to safeguard your device is always a good idea because it dramatically reduces your risk of acquiring malware, protects you from identity theft, and prolongs the lifespan of your gadgets.

 

Shubham is a Technology and Smartphones lover from India. Pursuing his degree in IT engineering. Besides technology, he loves riding bike, chatting with friends. Feel free to add him on social networks.