How to protect your Android device from malware: Android smartphones have suffered numerous malware attacks in the past. The latest malware is “Judy”, which has reportedly hit over 36 million Android devices so far. Judy is a malware found in almost 50 apps in the Play Store.
Contains a code that redirects infected devices to target websites to generate clicks from fraudulent ads. At the time of writing this article, Google has removed the affected apps from the Play Store. However, following the recent WannaCry ransomware attack on Windows and now on Judy’s attack on Android, users pay more attention to security than ever.
Android as an operating system is quite safe, however, improper use of the platform makes the devices infected with malware. If we are informed and use our devices judiciously as users, we can minimize the chances of being attacked by malware.
How to protect your Android device from malware
To simplify things, we’ve created a list of things you should do to protect your Android device against malware:
Install only apps from trusted sources
One of the main reasons Android suffers from malware attacks is that users, for various reasons, download apps from untrusted sources. Whatever your reasoning about it, if you want your device to be safe, immediately stop thinking that it’s ok to download apps from untrusted sources. It is very easy for attackers to include malware inside an app’s damaged APK files.
As a general rule, remember to only install apps from the Google Play Store. In case you need an app that is not available on the Play Store, try to find its alternative.
The Play Store has over 2.8 million verified apps, so the likelihood of not finding a suitable alternative is rather small. If you need to download an app outside the Play Store, be sure to perform due diligence and download apps only from verified and reliable sources.
Manage your settings
To prevent accidental installation of apps from untrusted sources, manage authorization in the settings menu. Go to the Settings menu and tap Security. Find the option to install apps from unknown sources and disable them.
Read the description of the app and user reviews
At the Google I / O 2017 event, Google demonstrated that to keep the Android platform safe, it scans over a million apps a day including apps available on its Play Store and those installed on user’s devices. However, some apps still manage to filter their exit from the Google screening process.
The last example is the apps that contained “Judy’s malware”. For this reason, you need to pay some attention even if you are installing from the Play Store. Stay away from little-known apps and apps that have many negative reviews. Also, if you’re trying a new app, follow its description to make sure it’s from a verified developer.
Protect your Android device from malware – Learn about app permissions
Since the launch of Android Marshmallow (6.0), Google allows us to see and manage the authorization required by the apps run on our devices. Authorizations include access to the device’s hardware, such as a camera, sensors, and storage, among many others. Only some apps require these permissions to work properly, not all.
For example, a simple text editor app does not need to access your camera. During the installation of a new app, look for the required authorizations and grant only those actually requested by the app. To manage the permissions of the installed apps go to Settings> Apps> App permissions to manage them.
Protect your Android device from malware – Do not use pirated apps or files
Piracy is immoral and illegal. However, we are not here to discuss its legitimacy, but rather to inform you that the apps and pirated files are provided with their associated risks.
As mentioned above, it is very easy to include malware in an app’s cracked APK. The same goes for any pirated file like audio, a pdf, and a video. If you download apps or pirated files, it’s only a matter of time, because your device will be infected soon. So, it’s in your best interest to keep away from them.
Do not access your private/sensitive data if you are connected to a public WiFi network
Public WiFi networks allow us to surf the Internet and stay connected anywhere, without consuming our mobile data. However, keep in mind that a public Wi-Fi connection is not as secure as your home/office WiFi. It is very easy to access your browsing data while you are on a public WiFi network.
So never access your private/sensitive content if you’re connected to a public WiFi network. Maybe, the next time you’re at Starbucks, you’ll avoid checking your bank account right there.
Stay away from suspicious connections
It seems like child’s play, but the trap of many people is revealed. Don’t be a user that clicks anywhere and opens any link that appears on your device. Malicious links can redirect you to websites containing malware and viruses. Only open links that come from a verified source.
Even if a friend sends you a link, ask before opening it, as some malware can automatically send messages or emails from an infected device.
Keep the phone updated
Google launches monthly security patches for its Android platform and although the update status of your device depends on the OEM you’re using, make sure you install all the updates and security patches available on your Android device as they become available.
Security patches close the gaps in security that Google discovers over time. If it does not update immediately, the device risks being infected.
Protect your Android device against malware – Install third-party anti-virus and anti-malware applications
If you have performed all the previous steps, you do not need to install a third-party anti-virus app. However, there is nothing as soothing as total security and if you want an extra pair of eyes to strengthen your device’s defense, you can install third-party anti-virus or anti-malware applications. There are many good third-party anti-virus apps and below we looked at the specific features of one of them in particular.
360 Security – Antivirus Boost is one of the best apps in this field available on the Play Store at the moment. It’s totally free and has many useful features. In addition to providing real-time protection, it can also scan the device and installed apps for any malware or viruses.
It also has a built-in garbage cleaner and an app lock, along with anti-theft features that allow you to remotely wipe your data if you lose your device. All in all, it’s a good app and should satisfy most of your needs if it’s antivirus software.
You will have noticed that most of the steps imply that you are especially careful using your smartphone. This happens because Android is very safe from the point of view of malware until you enable them yourself. Before downloading an app or opening a link, remember to check whether the source it came from is reliable or not.
In any case, nothing can be totally safe, so our advice is to constantly backup your data.
If you always keep these methods in mind to protect your Android device from malware, you can dramatically reduce the chances of being infected with malware. We hope this article helps you keep your Android device safer. Leave a comment below if you like!