Our phones are indispensable, doing everything from online banking to facilitating access to health services. Without adequate security, however, they can become vulnerable to cyber criminals that want to use personal information to commit fraud, in particular phishing and mobile scams.
Every Android app and service relies on data. Increasingly, that data includes information like full name and location, passwords, usernames, financial information, etc. that needs protection. What is more, one person’s security practices affect everyone in their network — family, friends, and professionals.
So let’s have good habits to protect ourselves and our phones from mobile scammers. Furthermore, we can help those around us do the same. Here, in this article, we will discuss practical tips on protecting an Android phone from mobile scams.
Install an Anti-Malware Solution
Spend money on it. Considering today’s cyber threat landscape, it’s probably worth paying for peace of mind. Fortunately, peace of mind doesn’t need to cost the earth.
A good antimalware checker comprises antivirus recognition and a suite of other helpful technologies, including identity protection and the facility to see if (or rather, how often) your passwords and email addresses have been breached.
McAfee provides a good all-around product that allows you to protect multiple devices, such as your phone, your tablet, your laptop, and devices of family members. It also offers online search protection to warn you about suspicious sites before you click the links and comes with an easy-to-use, fast Virtual Private Network (VPN) for multiple users.
Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
Using a VPN provides you with an additional layer of security and privacy online and no longer causes a laggy connection.
Some VPNs are better than others, of course. Some unscrupulous VPNs actually sell your data to marketers and potential scammers, which defeats the object in quite a distressing way. Using a brand name, Norton, for instance, can give you peace of mind, though cheaper alternatives exist.
Cyber hygiene can help keep your phone secure. Like sweeping up after you’ve used a workshop, go ahead and install CCleaner. Run it regularly to get rid of cookies, hidden files, malware, spyware, bloatware, and other files that you deem serve no useful purpose for you but can be helpful to mobile scammers.
Use Private Browsing
Part of keeping an Android device secure is not allowing websites to track it. If you want to be able to search without being marketed to based on your searches, know that DuckDuckGo’s browser and search app block advertisers’ trackers so that you can browse the web more privately.
It doesn’t have the deep search capability or intuitive results of Google, but DuckDuckGo doesn’t want to know where you are or what you’re wearing, either. Better-known search engines are creepy compared to DuckDuckGo; it’s popular with people seeking simplicity, security, and privacy.
Don’t Answer Spam Calls
Most phones warn you of incoming spam. Listen to those warnings. If it’s important, callers will normally leave a message. Spam callers tend to hang up and try someone else.
Before answering a call from an unknown number, use PhoneHistory for information about the caller, including their name and location, the carrier they use, the history of their phone use, and other records.
Set Up a Screen Lock
A screen lock will make it harder for opportunists to access your private data. How much harm can someone do in just a minute or two? A lot.
If you don’t have a screen lock, it won’t take a skilled hacker to find personally identifiable information on your phone, such as names, addresses, email addresses, dates of birth, and account details.
If you are logged into an app or two, the unauthorized person can gain access to them, potentially allowing them access to your entire network of contacts. Scammers could feasibly use your account to spread convincing phishing attempts or distribute malware to people thinking the communications are from you.
A screen lock, which might be a pattern, pin, or biometric scan, is a slightly inconvenient way to achieve much better security for your Android phone.
Give In to Multi-Factor Authentication
If an app asks you if you’re ready to switch to multi-factor authentication, say yes. It’s time. With multi-factor authentication, your app will demand two or more kinds of proof of ID from you instead of just requiring a username and password combination.
Like a screen lock, it’s a little inconvenient in our fast-paced lives, but it’s not as inconvenient as having a criminal get into your account and make fraudulent purchases, cleaning up the mess left behind by identity theft, or allowing a mobile scammer to use your personal information against you.
Update Your Apps
Since most software updates are related to security fixes, keeping your Android operating system and apps up to date can help keep your phone secure.
Having the most up-to-date versions of your apps makes it harder for hackers to exploit known vulnerabilities. Hacking an app can lead to cybercriminals accessing personal data or using it as a way of distributing malware or breaching other parts of your device or network.
Reduce Your Attack Surface
The smaller the target, the less chance of being involved in a cyber attack. In addition to keeping your apps up to date, perform a regular audit of your apps. Uninstall the apps you no longer use. Be honest with yourself about that “abs in 5 days app” and delete it.
The more apps you have on your device, the more ways there are for a cybercriminal to breach your device and cause mischief. Rather than forgetting about old apps and having them become vulnerabilities, just get rid of them. Your phone will likely start running faster as a result.
Shun Unsecured Networks
If working remotely or on the go means connecting to an unsecured network, such as the kind you get in coffee shops and airports, don’t do it. Hackers and criminals hang out on unsecured networks to gain access to people’s devices.
If you do have to use an unsecured network, get off it as soon as you can. While connected, assume that everyone can see and retain everything you do and send. Don’t use it for anything financial, even making a purchase.
Insist on SSL/TLS Encryption
HTTPS protocol won’t save your confidential transmissions from the most determined hackers, but it helps.
If you’re sending financial data, account data, or personally identifiable information, insist on an encrypted connection to avoid scams and attacks like a man-in-the-middle attack in which your details get stolen and/or modified en route.
Follow these pretty straightforward tips, and not only will your Android device be much more secure, but you’ll also be modeling good behavior and protecting every one of your contacts.
If you found this post useful, please share it with your friends and family for kudos and to make your Android phone even more secure from mobile scams and hackers by helping protect your contacts’ devices.