While Android is currently one of the most popular and powerful mobile operating systems on the planet, it’s often ridiculed for its lack of security. Some people think that hacking an Android device is simple, which has made them wary about buying one and stepping away from the iOS system or similar smartphones. It is true that Android isn’t quite as safe in some regards, and here are some things you should know about security as a new user.
Realistic Security Summary
Most developers would agree that the Android system itself, without the user, is a very secure system. It keeps the majority of viruses at bay, which any good OS should be capable of, and it ensures stability so that hackers can’t easily find exploitable coding. Android also ensures that users know what they are getting into before they download apps or visit websites.
The problem with security is the user. Before you download an app, Android will tell you what type of permissions the app wants. For example, the app may want to access your SD card or phone history. If you agree to these permissions, then you should be aware that there is the chance that someone will take advantage of this.
Most of the security features rely on the user being aware of his or her digital surroundings. This is often why Android is considered a more advanced system. If you don’t know much about technology, then it’s easy to get lost or taken advantage of when using this OS.
Google Play Store
The Google Play Store is where you’ll find and download most of your apps, but you can always download apps directly from the Internet. A handful of malicious apps have been found on Android’s app marketplace, which some people consider a source of shame.
While Android doesn’t necessarily check every app before it goes up for sale, the system is constantly scanning for viruses and malware. Viruses can get through, but this is much harder than you might think.
Many companies dislike Android because it lacks enterprise security features. This has largely changed since the recent version because Android now allows users to remotely lock, wipe and locate their devices if the smartphone is stolen. IT departments are also warming up to Android due to its improving security.
If you are really worried about viruses and malicious files, then you can spend some money on extra protection. The Google Play Store is home to dozens of security apps from popular brands like Norton and BitDefender. Most of these apps will charge a monthly or yearly fee, but they will offer you the same level of protection as their desktop variants.
Multiple Layers of Defense
Android is built with a layered defense system. All apps and files have to pass through a sandbox, which isolates the file until it’s considered safe. There are also permissions in effect that keep files from accessing inappropriate information. Verify apps are used to verify files on your smartphone to ensure that common viruses aren’t hiding somewhere in your device. Android has also made a change to primarily accept files from trusted sources.
A warning system is used to tell users of unsafe activity. For example, trying to install an app from an unknown source or visiting a website full of malware will often cause a warning to appear. You can ignore the warning, but it’s best to listen.
Understand Good Browsing
The best way to keep your device secure is to understand good browsing habits. Never install apps from unknown sources, and do your best to avoid unprotected WiFi connections. Hackers can easily hack the router and see what you are doing.
It’s also a good idea to check the permissions list before installing an app, and be sure to avoid odd messages with weird links.
While many people believe that Android is an unsafe system, the truth is that Android is very safe in the right hands. If you are truly worried about viruses, then you can install a security app, but you should know that Android does a great job of resisting viruses if you practice safe browsing habits.