More than half of all smartphones are now running Android operating system. Because Android is an ‘open’ operating system, anyone can release apps for it. As a result, Android may be more prone to malware than other mobile operating systems.

What are the risks?

Cybercriminals can use mobile malware to steal personal information, monitor calls, intercept messages, and even activate your device’s microphone or camera.  When a stranger has access to your mobile device, the risks include invasion of privacy, identity theft, cyberbullying and even extortion.

How can I protect my Android device?

  • Make sure you download apps from a legitimate app store such as Google Play Store. The apps found on these stores are monitored and scanned for dangerous or fake programs.
  • You should only install apps outside of the Google Play Store if you know without a doubt that the app is safe. Do your research and read reviews before installing.
  • Android devices include a security setting called “Unknown sources”, which allows you to install apps from unknown sources. Make sure the box is unchecked, to prevent installation of apps that do not come from the Google Play Store.
  • The Android operating system also includes a malware scanner. If you have downloaded an app outside of the Play store, you should scan the app before installing. The feature can be accessed in your Settings, under Security, and choose “Verify apps”.
  • When installing an app, pay attention to the app’s permissions. It will show you if the app needs access to certain parts of your mobile device. If any of the permissions look suspicious, or if you don’t want to share the information, don’t install the app.
  • You should also be aware that most pirated or cracked apps usually contain some form of malware.
  • If there is a software update for your device, make sure to download and install it. Updates usually contain bug fixes, enhancements and new features to make your device more secure.
  • For added protection, you could also install antivirus software on your Android device. There are many antivirus apps which can be found in the Google Play store.

Tags: Protect your Android Device