It is sometimes hard to believe that Android phones actually dominate the smartphone market. But they do. Indeed, recent data suggests that around 88% of the smartphone market is made up of devices using the Android Operating system.
Over the past 12 months, 328.6 million Android devices were shipped. When compared to Apple’s iPhone shipments, which amounted to just 45.5 million, you get a sense of the domination.
So, there is no doubt that Android phones are popular with users. There are plenty of reasons for this. They are much cheaper and generally perceived as being better value for money. Apps are cheaper too and there is a much greater variety of hardware available.
They are often much more flexible and users can customize them as much or as little as they see fit. It can be easier to transfer files from your Android phone to your PC than it is from an iPhone. They have features such as a back button and universal sharing which users love, but iPhones do not offer. I could go on.
But with that popularity comes an inherent risk as well. Because with such a huge share of the market, they are also an attractive target hackers and cyber-criminals too. More units mean more opportunities as there will be a greater number of users who have not secured and protected their device correctly.
Many people believe that Android is an inherently less secure operating system than iOS, and there might be something in that argument. But most successful hacks come as a result of lax or non-existent security being implemented by users.
Top Tips To Protect Android Phone From Hackers
So, what can you do to make sure your Android is secure and that your device is as safe as it can possibly be from the threat of hacker. Actually, it’s not nearly as complicated as you might fear. Keep on reading, and you can brush up on my 3 top tips to protect your Android from hackers:
- Always lock screen and use a passcode:
All Android devices offer the option of a passcode, yet it is amazing the number of people who don’t use it. I hear so many people moaning that it’s too inconvenient to punch a code in every time you turn on your device.
Well, I say, it shouldn’t take more than a few seconds, and it makes a world of difference to the security of your device. With a Passcode activated, a hacker can need to commit days or even weeks to get into your device. That is too much and he will usually just move on to an easier target.
It’s important to make your device as unappealing as possible to hackers. So, use a 6-digit passcode if you possibly can; they are a lot harder to crack than 4-digit ones. And never put your phone down without locking the screen. Leaving it unlocked for just a moment could be all the chance an opportunist needs to get hold of it and be away, resetting the passcode as he goes.
- Always update software and apps:
The Android operating system is not as insecure as some people like to make out, but it is far from perfect either. There are flaws and vulnerabilities that hackers can and do exploit.
These vulnerabilities are closed using patches, which are rolled out to devices in software updates. So it is vital to ensure that you always download all software updates as soon after they are launched as you possibly can.
The same is true for the apps and various other bits of software you may have installed on your device. Keep it up-to-date, and you are minimizing the risk of that software being the route into your device for a hacker.
- Use secure apps:
Lastly, always try to use secure apps. By this I mean both apps that help to secure your device, apps that can protect your online activity, and apps that can do both. For example:
- A Firewall: We all use firewalls to help protect our computers and protect us from hackers. And it is highly advisable to use one to protect our smartphones too. There are plenty on the market, but NoRoot is a favorite of mine.
- Encrypted Messaging: if you want to be sure your instant messaging is private and secure, you need to be using software which encrypts your communications. WhatsApp is perhaps the most popular that offer this service. Line is another one with a growing reputation. There are others out there too, so be sure to use one of them.
- A VPN: A VPN can help to secure both your device and your online traffic as explained in this article by Anonymster It reroutes all your traffic down an encrypted pathway to an external server. This makes all online traffic secure. It also changes your IP Address and so renders you pretty much totally anonymous online.
As well as security and privacy benefits, there are plenty more perks besides. They can help you get around geo-blocking and watch streaming services no matter where you are in the world. And they also help you evade censorship meaning you can access sites in places like China, where many popular web services are blocked by the Communist Regime.
There are no significant downsides to a VPN and they prove again and again to be well worth the money.