6 tips to protect the data on your Android device

by Dirk and MarjanBe inspired14/11/2016

6 tips to protect the data on your Android device
Smartphones and tablets have become almost ubiquitous in our daily lives, privately and professionally. But are you making sure your data is safe and hackers don’t stand a chance?

Tips for Apple users can be found here.

  1. Set a password or code

    Absolutely vital, completely free and very easy: securing access to your device with a code, password or pattern. Haven’t done this yet? Then head over to ‘Settings’, ‘Lock screen and security’ and choose ‘Secure lock type’. If you set a pincode, make sure it can’t be easily guessed. So no 0000 or 1234. Same goes for the pattern: a simple rectangle or square is not enough. On newer Android devices, you can also secure your phone with your fingerprint. This is by far the easiest method. 
    And whatever you use, make sure you wipe your screen regularly to avoid leaving telltale patterns.

  2. Only download apps from the official app store

    On Android, it’s very easy to download apps from other sources than Google Play, the official Google Android app store. But be very careful when you do so and try to avoid it at all times. Often those apps are very dubious (copied games, apps that let you watch movies illegally, cracked apps, etc.) and they can come with virusses and malware.
    Another advantage of Google Play: you immediately see which permissions an app requires before you can install and use it. If, for instance, a game app wants access to your images or contacts, you might want to think twice about installing it. 

  3. Be careful with Wifi hotspots

    Free wifi in hotels and coffee bars can come in quite handy, but they’re also a potential security risk. You have absolutely no view on what will happen to/with the data you enter when you’re using such a connection.
    One way around this is to subscribe to a VPN connection, a Virtual Private Network. A VPN creates a secured ‘tunnel’ between your phone and the internet that makes it much harder for cybercriminals to steal your info. There are free VPN-services available as well, but they are often quite slow. Paying services, and there are dozens of those, are a lot faster. You can find those in Google Play as well.
    Or you can surf free and safe on the secured Proximus FON hotspots.

  4. Use remote wiping

    Did you lose your phone or tablet? Or did it get stolen? Then you can track, lock and even wipe your device from a distance. But: this only works when your device is switched on and has a Wifi, 3G or 4G data connection.
    Go to ‘Settings’, ‘Google’ (under ‘Personal’) and ‘Security’. Then make sure the ‘Locate and control device remotely’ options are switched on. The exact naming varies per device manufacturer.
    Want to locate your device? Then head over to www.android.com/devicemanager and log in with your Google account. This will allow you to show your device’s location on a map and you’ll have the option to wipe your device clean before anyone can access your data.

  5. Make back-ups

    If you wipe your device, you will of course lose all the personal data you stored previously. So it’s a good idea to make regular back-ups. If you use Gmail, Outlook or Yahoo Mail for your email, contacts and calendar, then your data is already stored in the Cloud. As soon as you use a new phone or tablet, you can easily restore that data to your new device. And you can also use Cloud Platforms such as OneDrive, Dropbox or Google Drive for your images and music. You can even determine which types of files should be uploaded to the Cloud automatically, so you don’t have to do this manually every time.

  6. Use antivirus software

    Last but not least: you can also install a security app. Norton, F-Secure, Kaspersky, Avira and Bullguard are household names in this business. They’ll automatically scan your installed apps, the contents of your memory card and any new apps you add for malicious software. Many of these apps are free, but usually only for the most basic functions. If you want complete security, you’ll have to pay, although these suppliers rarely charge more than 20 euros for their services. And remember: download these apps from Google Play.
    If you want to opt for Norton Mobile Security via Proximus, you stay safe for 1,65 euro/month excl. VAT. Download the app in all safety from MyProximus.

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