Android Cybersecurity: Knowing the Risks – And What to Do
Do you have an Android device with you? So do over 70% of all smartphone users in the world.
This high adoption rate means that you get a lot of options to pick from when it comes to Android phones. That is not to mention the slew of apps and games you get in the dedicated Play Store.
With all that power, though, also comes enormous responsibility.
Hackers love to target Android units since they know they get to reach a lot of users that way. Now that you are here, you should not be one of the victims anymore.
The Common Security Risks
Here are some of the security risks common to Android users, and how to ensure you are never caught wanting on any of them.
As the name implies, this happens when a hacker places themselves in the middle of your internet connection. This means that they get to see all that you are doing – and they can even take control of the data flow from there.
MITM attacks are frequent when you connect to the internet via unencrypted networks. That is most likely the case when using a free public Wi-Fi network
A low-cost solution is to get a VPN for your Android device, making sure to always layer your connection with this software. That way, your data is tunneled through different servers to prevent snooping and prying eyes of anyone.
The engineers of the Play Store are dedicated to regulating the apps published there. Thus, they can identify which apps have malicious code in them and take such apps down. Even at that, we still have some malicious apps slip through the cracks.
Moreover, third party websites hosting apps might be another risk. Downloading from such websites puts you at a risk of infecting your device with malware. After all, there is no one regulating the apps on those websites to ensure they are as clean as can be.
If the app is not available on the Google Play Store, we don’t think it’s worth having. You will most likely get better alternatives.
Poor Update Practices
Google began the rollout of monthly security fixes to all Android devices some years ago. OEMs also package security fixes and upgrades to ship out to their units from time to time. The same is true of app developers, always looking for new ways to better their apps and fix bugs in the previous versions.
When you do not download these updates/ upgrades in time, though, you are leaving your device security open to attacks.
That way, a hacker who knows about the hidden exploit can take advantage of it to gain access to your device. The kind of access is not sure, but it would not be pretty anyways. That is why you should always download and install updates as soon as they make it to your device.
Poor Password Habits
Anyone with any device could make this mistake, though, but we should mention it here for measure too.
It is saddening to see that with all the awareness around passwords, people are not treating them as seriously.
The fact that your Android device allows you to sign in to most accounts with the biometrics, instead of a password, makes this worse. Know that a remote hacker would not need to clone your face or lift your prints when they can walk past your weak password.
A topnotch recommendation is that you never use the same password for multiple accounts. Likewise, have a password manager where you store all your unique passwords – preferably spawned by online password generation tools.
Do not forget to enable two-factor authentication on accounts where that is possible. That extra layer of security could do you a lot of good too.