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Screenshot of Android 4 on Galaxy Nexus
Android 4 on Galaxy Nexus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How do I stay safe?

Just as popular as the Android operating system is getting, the number of malware in the wild is increasing. The fact that Android itself is open-source means that just anyone can develop anything and put it online, anyone can have access to the Android’s source code, and this may just be why there are so many potential risks faced with using the Android OS.

The question now persists,

How do I stay safe on Android?

Here are a few tips I recommend for you:

Get an antivirus

An antivirus is usually the first and the most basic way to stay safe from viruses. There are a number of antiviruses out there both paid and free. Here is a small list (in no particular order)

https://play.google.com/store/search?q=antivirus&c=apps

AVs like Avast, AVG, Lookout, Dr Web etc exists, among a host of others

Use only trusted app stores

While this is certainly not a sure way to prevent installation of malicious apps (some malicious apps still make it to the store anyway), you can, to a large extent, prevent the rogue apps in the wild from making their way to your phone.

You may only use other alternative app stores if you know exactly what you are doing, or if you are a developer testing an app and you know the risks involved

Disable app installs from Unknown Sources

This setting disables installation of apps from unknown sources, especially ones downloaded over the internet.

To disable installation of apps from unknown sources, go to  Settings>>Security and Uncheck the ‘Allow installation of apps from unknown sources’ checkbox.

Verify the publisher

Even when you want to install an app from Google Play Store (or other verified stores like Amazon’s), always verify the publisher. For example, before BBM for Android was released, there were many other BBM apps from many individual publishers. Many of these are malware apps.

A good way to verify the publisher is to scroll down the app page in Play Store and click “Visit developer website”

Check app permissions

Always check the permissions list BEFORE you install the app. An app that was designed to be a RSS reader and is asking for permission to “send SMS that cost you money” is most likely a malware app.

Also since your data is important to you, look out for apps that request for permissions to access your personal data, or your location.

Get the paid apps

Unfortunately, If an app is free, then it is most likely not good enough. The paid option always has better options for you. This may entirely not be true, but at least more work must have been done on the paid option of an app to make it worth the money. So i advise that if you like an app, get the paid version.

Stay up to date

Just like desktop systems, updates come with security patches and more goodies. It is always safe to update your apps as soon as they are released

 

Endpoint

Stay smart, stay safe, and you can be sure to enjoy the Android experience for a long long time.

 

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