Android OS has various vendors and versions and runs on smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices. So users who use devices based on Android face particular security challenges.
Here we list some common concerns to keep you and your Android device safe from attackers. Some of these are pretty simple, and your Android supports them already. What you need to do is to enable them. Others are more complicated; they may require third parties' tools to enhance the security shield of your Android device.
1. Enable Security Features of Android
1.1 Update Software
Any software has flaws; some of them will cause a serious security risk. So updating Android OS, either small patches or new versions, is critical to keep your device running up-to-date Android.
You should update Android by either auto setting or manual checking. However, because of the Android ecosystem's diversity, separate vendors update their Android OS under different policies. Some have better services and quicker responses to new features and security patches. A list from best to worst of the leading vendors are as follows:
So, Google should be your first choice if you target Android devices because of the security update. Even for the same vendor, different devices and types may have different update policies. So you should check both vendor and model of your Android and maximize the priority of up-to-date Android to ensure to be in good shape against cybercrime.
1.2 Lock Smartphone
Lock your Android device is so simple. But, some people still don't do it. In fact, you're more likely to leak your private data, like credit-card accounts, by losing your device than attacking by any malware. So lock your smartphone is a critical security step to keep privacy safe.
What's the best way to lock your phone? Android offers lots of options:
- PIN, but not set as 1-2-3-4, it's too easy to break
1.3 Only Use Apps from Google Play
Android OS itself is relatively safe, but the apps installed by yourself are another story. The main security risk on Android devices is from apps users downloaded, especially from unreliable third party application sources. To avoid any malware, you should only download apps from Google Play.
Google does its best to make the Store safer than any other app sources. It scans all apps before listing them. We also read reports that bogus apps, including malicious code, make them into Google Play occasionally, but they're exceptions, not the rule.
Besides, if you tune on Google Play Protect, it can automatically scan your Android device for malware when you install programs. For maximum security, you may do as follows.Settings > Security > Play Protect
, then click Full scanning and Scan device for security threats.
Now that you know the apps from third parties may cause security issues, you need to keep an eye on updating them as long as their vendors have new security patches ready. Most Android software vendors do a good job of security updating, but it costs your time and effort to update them. So, If you're not using an app, get rid of it immediately. It will decrease the chances an attacker can exploit.
1.4 Use Device Encryption
When your smartphone is in others' hands, all your private data are visible to them, either a crook or an agent of US Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Android gives you an option to avoid such a disclosing. To encrypt your device, go toSettings > Security > Encrypt Device
, and follow the prompts.
Then, data in your smartphone, like contacts, calendars, and notes, are safe unless you give the password to others.
1.5 Password Management
Password management is a new concept in Android OS. You may have some out-of-date ideas about passwords:
- Use the same password for everything
- Write down your passwords in a notebook
- Memorize all your passwords in mind
Unfortunately, they are all not terribly practical. Android strongly suggests you use a password management program called 'password manager.'
Now Google comes with one built-in password manager. However, if your devices aren't limited to Google or Android, you can use other password management programs, such as LastPass, 1Password, and Dashlane.
1.6 Turn off Wi-Fi Connections
Wi-Fi is the primary channel by which malware passes your private data. Even if you set a firewall for both inbound and outbound connections, the Internet risk cannot be isolated completely. So, if you're not using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, turn them off. It will decrease the chances dramatically that cybercriminals attack your smartphone.
Bluetooth hackers are still alive and work similarly to Wi-Fi hackers. So, turn off Bluetooth too. If you don't use it, don't give them a chance.
2. 2021 Android Security Software
Android devices span various vendors, distributors, and developers, so they have more complicated security challenges and requirements. For example, public Wi-Fi and third parties' apps sometimes cause security issues in Android devices. It's why more and more companies enter the Android security market. Here we list some of them to help you get extra protection for Android devices.
|Mcafee Total Protection||Antivirus|
|Mcafee Mobile Security||Internet Security|
|Mcafee Safe Connect VPN||VPN Service|
|Mcafee Safe Family||Parental Control|
|Mcafee Identity Theft Protection||Privacy Security|
|Norton 360 AntiVirus||Antivirus|
|Norton Mobile Security||Internet Security|
|Norton Secure VPN||VPN Service|
|Norton Password Manager||Password|
|Norton Family||Parental Control|
|Bitdefender Security||Internet Security|
|Bitdefender Mobile Security||Internet Security|
|Bitdefender Premium VPN||VPN Service|
|F-Secure Cyber Security Limited|
|F-Secure Security||Internet Security|
|F-Secure Id Protection||Password|
|NordPass Password Manager||Password|
|Webroot WiFi Security||VPN Service|
|Kaspersky Anti Virus & Security||Antivirus|
|Kaspersky Safe Kids||Parental Control|
|Avira Antivirus Pro||Antivirus|
|K7 Computing Pvt Ltd.|
|K7 Antivirus & Secuirty||Antivirus|
|Avast Antivirus & Security||Antivirus|
|Trend Micro Inc.|
|Trend Security||Internet Security|
|Hotspot Shield||VPN Service|
|CyberGhost VPN||VPN Service|
|Express VPN International Ltd|
|Surfshark VPN||VPN Service|
|Dashlane Password Manager||Password|
|1Password Password Manager||Password|
|Keeper Security, Inc.|
|Keeper Password Manager||Password|
|LastPass Password Manager||Password|
|Bitwarden Password Manager||Password|
|Siber Systems, Inc.|
|RoboForm Password Manager||Password|
|Pervasive Group Inc.|
|MMGuardia Parental Control||Parental Control|
|Qustodio Family Premium||Parental Control|
|Content Watch Holdings, Inc.|
|Net Nanny Family Pass||Parental Control|
|Mobicip Family||Parental Control|
|Google Drive||Data Backup|
|Microsoft OneDrive||Data Backup|
|Apple iCloud Drive||Data Backup|
|Dropbox Individual||Data Backup|
|Acronis International GmbH|
|Acronis True Image||Data Backup|
|Western Digital Corporation|
|My Cloud Home||Data Backup|
|FoneLab iPhone Data Recovery||File Security|
3. Free Android Security Software
3.1 Free Internet Security Suite for Android
As we mentioned, the apps you downloaded are the primary source of malicious code. If your apps are from Google Play, Google Play Protect does an excellent job protecting your smartphone.
Users cannot guarantee to download apps from Google Play alone, as well as Google Play Protect cannot dig out all malicious code at the first moment. So that employ third parties' Internet security suite is a good option if your smartphone is running lots of apps. The below free list has a good reputation at Android OS.
|Safe web||Full list|
|Web Protection||Full list|
|Remote Control||Full list|
|Anti identity theft||Full list|
|Realtime anti-phishing||Full list|
|Protect device from thieves||Android|
|Generic exploit blocking||Android|
Avast Antivirus & Security
|Feature||Free Antivirus||Premlum Security||Premlum Security||Device|
|Scan Wi-Fi||Full list|
|Ransomware security||Full list|
|Secure Shopping||Full list|
|File Shredder||Full list|
|Safe web||Full list|
|Scan email||Full list|
|Firewall to internet||Full list|
3.2 Free VPN for Android
When you connect with Wi-Fi, you may not know who is the provider of the Wi-Fi service. In some cases, your smartphone runs under free Wi-Fi, such as a local coffee shop or public park. It's a huge security risk because the free Wi-Fi providers theoretically can get all the content you communicate through Wi-Fi. You can use free Wi-Fi, but you need extra security protection: it's VPN. Some third parties offer mobile VPN on Android.
Mcafee Safe Connect VPN
|Secure VPN||Full list||250M per month|
|Secure VPN||Full list||5 licenses|
|Unlimited data||Full list|
|Secure VPN||Windows Mac iOS Android Chrome||Up to 2 Mbps,500 MB daily|
|Secure VPN||Full list||up to 1 Gbps,unlimited traffic|
|Streaming access||Full list|
|Virtual locations||Full list|
|Realtime anti-phishing||Full list|
|Password manager||Full list||by 1Password|
|Monitor privacy breach||Full list|
|Secure VPN||Windows Android||limited 150MB/day|
|Panda rescue kit||Windows|