In today’s world, people and their phones have become one and the thought of going without it for even just a day may seem unbearable. Imagine if you lost it. Most people would be concerned about losing contact with their family and friends or upset about the cost associated with replacing the device. Those are unfortunate circumstances, but what is really scary is the thought of the personal information and valuable data stored on your phone being in the wrong hands. Follow these tips to ensure the security of personal information stored on your Android phone.
Set Up an Advanced Unlock Pattern
One feature that Android users are privy to compared to other phones on the market like the iPhone or Blackberry is the unlock pattern system. Users set up their phones so when they need to unlock them, a three by three grid appears on the screen and asks users to slide their fingers across the circles in each row in a specific pattern in order to unlock it. The longest kind of pattern has lines connecting all nine circles while the shortest kind of pattern has to connect at least four circles, so while it may be tempting to simply draw the shape of the letter L, an overall simple password is much more prone to be cracked by anyone who picks up your phone. So for any Android users, the more elaborate your unlock pattern is, the harder it is for others to guess your password.
A valuable tip in maintaining your Android phone’s security is to regularly wipe away smudges from dragging your fingertips repeatedly to enter you unlock pattern.
Restrict Access to the Android Market
By default the Android Market is not set to prompt users to enter a passcode. Access the Market app’s settings menu, then click user controls, and select “Set or Change PIN”. Implementing this setting will help protect your Google Wallet/credit card.
Utilize SIM Card Locks
Using SIM card locks is an easy way to protect your phone’s features by requiring users to enter a numeric code to use network-dependent services. (Are you beginning to sense a theme? Use passcodes!)
Avoid Using Free Unsecured Wi-Fi
Unsecured Wi-Fi has little security if any and you are asking for trouble by accessing it. If your device is set to automatically connect to these networks you can easily disable that option in your phone’s settings.
Only Download Android-Certified Applications
There may be a lot of convenient applications, such as one to find the closest gas station or how to split a shared bill at dinner, not all apps that you can find online for the Android are Android-approved. While some of these apps may appear harmless, there are some that can make your Android susceptible to malware and viruses that can either make your phone inoperable or siphon sensitive information. Be sure to look at the app’s ratings and the number of reviews. Also, be sure to keep an eye on what information the apps you download have permission to access.
Following these simple, yet effective tips will dramatically increase the safety of valuable information stored on your Android phone.
Robert blogs about all things technology related. He currently works for a training organization named Phoenix TS.