If you own an Android device, you are probably like the majority of other Android users: your smartphone or tablet probably isn’t protected from viruses or malware attacks. Research shows that up to 80 percent of smartphone users are unprotected.
This is a big problem because even if your smartphone has not yet been affected, it is more than likely that it will be. That is because of the large amounts of money that motivates criminals to seek out and steal financial data, pass codes and other useful personal information. The more devices they take over, the more money.
Until they introduce virus free Android smartphones, it is your responsibility to secure your device and your personal information. Here is how to get started:
Downloading apps from trusted sources
The Google Play store is a source that you can always trust. It is the official app distributor and it regularly scans apps for codes that could be malicious and also removes any malware apps that it comes across. Amazon also says that they scan every app before it even hits their store.
There are a few other trustworthy places out there as well, but be careful, most Android malware comes from third party sites.
Some app stores will ask you to turn on a device based setting, this allows the device to install apps from unknown sources. Be careful and understand that this is a risk.
Avoid Sideloading from Questionable Sources
Sideloading is basically turning off your Android’s security, downloading and running APK files. Make sure to look out for the .apk extension, as these are program files similar to EXE files in the Windows OS.
It may not be very dangerous to run and APK file from some place other than Google Play, but when you’re dealing with the questionable source, understand that it could turn in to a very big deal very quick.
Tip: any place that offers paid apps for free is surely not legitimate in any way.
Learn to Identify Fake Apps
Use the same filters in your brain that you use to identify rogue emails from fake financial institutions. These include poorly rendered logos, spelling mistakes, and publisher names that aren’t typed out correctly.
Some organizations outsource their app development, and sometimes this leads to little mistakes like mismatched publisher names. If you have a specific app that you are questioning, Google it! You’ll find the answer there.
Question Apps That Don’t Appear Much
Make sure you always read the app’s reviews. BUT, make sure you read them carefully. Just because it has reviews doesn’t mean its legitimate. Lot’s of illegitimate apps have illegitimate reviews. Make sure the reviews talk about the actual app and indicate that it does what it says.
Install Security Software
Major PC security companies like AVG, Webroot and Norton now make antivirus apps for Android devices. Their apps detect and remove threats like viruses, malware and spyware. They also have other cool features like being able to locate your phone via Google Maps and locking or wiping functions in case your phone gets lost or stolen.
Follow these steps and be safe.