With over 74.6% of global market shares, Android is the most popular mobile operating system in the world and these devices are usually facing cyberattacks . The operating system has the lion’s share for small handheld devices, including smartphones, tablets, and smartwatches, as well as electronic gadgets such as smart TVs, streaming boxes, etc. Developed by Google, Android’s global success is attributable to its open-source software that can be installed on all smartphone devices free of charge.
Today, we use our smartphones as notebooks, maps, cameras, and more, in addition to calling and messaging. What we call a smartphone is basically a networked computer that adds convenience to your life, which is a good thing. However, having all these functions on our smartphones and tablets makes these devices an appealing target for hackers and other types of cybercriminals.
Cyber Risks on Android Devices
There are many different kinds of Android security threats. And since hackers are constantly seeking out new ways to make money, the number of risks your Android device encounters keep increasing. Their tactics keep changing, and new attacks are always coming to the attention of cyber security experts.
Here are some of the most common cybersecurity risks on Android devices,
- Hacking. More than one billion Android devices are at the risk of hacking due to the fact that they are no longer supported by security updates and built-in protection. Research shows that over 40 percent of Android devices are not receiving vital security updates, which puts them at a higher risk of cyberattacks such as data theft and ransomware.
- Malware. Android devices are a frequent target for different types of malicious software or malware. These include viruses and trojans, as well as various types of adware and spyware. In most cases, malware comes attached to what seems to be a legitimate program downloaded from third-party vendors.
- Malicious Apps. Cybercriminals create malicious apps that we download and sometimes purchase. These applications can steal sensitive data once installed. Hackers sneak these apps onto our devices by taking advantage of certain permissions or hiding them inside well known and useful free apps on the Android platform.
While the most recent iterations of the popular mobile operating system are protected with regular security updates, anyone using a device running on Android 8 and earlier versions should be concerned. Trojans and viruses will hijack your Android smartphone and mine the information held on the device. Adware collects your data with the goal of showing you more
targeted ads. Other more general mobile security risks include phishing, unsecured Wi-Fi, identity thefts.
Android Cybersecurity Tips
These mini-computers that we call our phones are increasingly becoming a target for hackers. Every year, security experts warn that our mobile devices are at risk of major cyberattacks. Compared to iOS, Android devices face a greater risk of attack due to vulnerabilities in the system. Fortunately, there are various steps that Android users can take to defend against these threats.
Here are six ways to minimize and mitigate the effects of a cyberattack on your Android device.
Use a VPN
Using a VPN is one of the most effective ways to keep the data on your Android device secure. A Virtual Private Network funnels network traffic through a secure IP address to keep your data secure, especially when you are connected to a public Wi-Fi network. Use it to ensure secure connection whether you are at home or connected to free Wi-Fi at the coffee shop down the street. It ensures that your data remains encrypted and secured.
Be Wary of Unfamiliar Apps
Downloading apps carelessly on your Android smartphone invites spyware, ransomware, and data leakage. By doing a little research on an app as well as the developer before downloading a new game to pass the time when social distancing can save you from malware infection. Just type the name of the developer on your search engine to see if there are any red flags. You can prevent many of these attacks by doing a little background search of an
app before downloading it.
Update Your Software
Keeping your software up to date can help you protect your device from cyberattacks. Android updates usually contain security patches, and failing to run them as soon as they are made available creates vulnerabilities that hackers can easily exploit. Its good practice to ensure that you update your software as soon as you are prompted to do so.
Lock Your Device
When it comes to mobile devices, one of the biggest security threats stems from lost or stolen devices. Data is often stolen from smartphones and tablets when they are misplaced without a PIN or a passcode. Lock your device with a strong password or a PIN to prevent unauthorized access to the device if it’s lost or stolen. If you use a lock screen pattern to lock your Android device, make sure it has seven points and two turns at the minimum.
Only Download Apps from Trusted Sources
Only download your apps from trusted sources such as the official Google Play Store. Hackers hide malware in fake apps designed to look and function like the legitimate app. You are most likely to download these apps from third-party app vendors. You can greatly reduce the risk of malware infection by only downloading apps from the official app store.
Consider Antivirus Software
You can install security software on your Android device the same way you download an antivirus program on your PC. Install reliable antivirus software on your device and enable automatic updates to ensure that your device is protected against the most recent threats. Choosing mobile security software that can scan every app you install for malware is an
Mobile security is a vital aspect of overall cybersecurity. If your devices are connected, hackers can easily gain access to other devices in your network once they hack your smartphone. It’s also easy to spread malware from a compromised phone to tablets and other mobile devices in the network. Therefore, it’s very important to ensure that you are taking the necessary precautions to protect your Android device from cyberattacks.