Nowadays, most smartphones use the Android operating system due to its quality performance and wide variety of apps available for downloading. Nevertheless, despite its great features the system is still susceptible to malware that can cause damage. Such harmful malware software can track your every move, steal your passwords, use your resources without your consent and make improper use of your personal data.
Below are some steps you can take to protect your Android device from malware:
1) Only use Google Play and other trusted stores to download apps
Google actively takes steps to vet the apps found in Play Store, this way you can be sure that what you are installing is free from malicious files or codes. However, if you choose to manually install apps from random sources that have not been vetted then you are at a higher risk of getting malware. That’s the reason why Android’s sideload option is disabled by default.
Apart from Google, Amazon Appstore is also another secure source for downloading files without the risk of malware, despite the fact that they regularly run deals on apps.
2) Get a virus scanner
A modern antivirus scanner can protect your Android device from different types of malware such as: Trojan horses, keyloggers, browser hijackers, fraud tools and ransomware among many others. Most of them do this task through pattern matching, whereby the scanner actively searches files for byte sequences that match those within its own virus database.
Likewise, some scanners offer real-time protection by monitoring data loaded into the device’s active memory. Such as when opening an email, browsing the internet or inserting a CD, when a file already installed on the device is executed or opened.
Additionally, there are virus scanners that use heuristics, whereby the scanner detects the genetic signature of a certain group of viruses and classifies them within a family code. Oftentimes, these signatures contain a non-contagious code with wildcard characters that allow the scanner to detect virus threats automatically.
3) Disable apps from unknown sources
Android has a setting that allows users to protect themselves by deactivating the option for installing apps from unfamiliar sources. While the exact location of the option may vary depending on the type of device you own, it’s generally found in the ‘Settings’ page under ‘Security>Unknown Source’.
Though this technique may not protect you fully from non-software security threats, such as cloud-based password hacks, it’s still a great line of defense against 3rd party malware from gaining access to your Android device.
Nevertheless, you may be required to make some minor sacrifices on your device in order to enjoy this malware-protection service. For instance, Android’s APKMirror app can’t function when the unknown source installation option is disabled. The same also applies to Amazon Underground retail store, which is the only platform for getting Amazon Prime Video apps on Android devices.
4) Install system updates
Every month, Google releases new security programs for Android which help in preventing random malware attacks from the internet. Especially in cases where vulnerability has been detected that harmful applications may be seeking to exploit.
To conclude, even though Android is a great OS for downloading apps from the internet, you should still put security measures to protect your device from malware that can cause destruction. For a even better security layer, you can check this list of Android VPN apps that also have options for Android users.