Android phones are customers’ favorite choices because of their price, battery life, customization, and storage capability. However, security and privacy put Android devices in the grey area and increase skepticism on their reliability.
Android devices are prone to hacking and malware attacks. Android malware is quite common nowadays. This year there were multiple events when researchers discovered Android malware like AbstractEmu, which Lookout Threat Labs found.
With Android phones dominating the market, it has become imperative to combat Android malware. This article highlights the best tips that you can exercise to prevent malware and strengthen your device security. So, let’s get started.
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How Do Android Devices Get Malware?
Malware can get into your Android devices by various means, and fake domains are one of them. The fake Google Play domains often trick users into downloading the malicious apps developed by the cybercriminals. These apps bypass Google checks and thus are difficult to spot and easily steal sensitive data or hijack the device.
For example, the Joker malware, which is back again, has infected at least 14 Android apps and grabbed money from the targets. The malware has been downloaded more than 500,000 times before it got removed from the Play Store.
Apps even ask permission to access your contact list, gallery, and other messages. Sometimes, some apps ask for permission that makes no sense; it is where you need to pay attention. Apps asking for unusual access are malicious and later infect your device with malware. So, be careful.
Tips to Prevent Android Malware
Only in March 2020, the new Android malware samples were found to amount to 482,579 per month. The increasing risks of Android malware have urged users to look for ways to prevent their phones from being infected by malware. Below are some of the best tips and tricks you should follow to avoid Android malware:
1. Device Encryption
Device encryption is among the vital steps towards establishing a healthy cybersecurity environment but, it’s mostly overlooked, and quite often, it is seen that Android users do not use the device encryption feature. Device encryption goes beyond setting up a complex password or screen lock pattern. It encrypts the data stored on your phone and can only be viewed or accessed by those with authentic credentials. With this feature, you can ensure that none of your sensitive data gets into the wrong hands of hackers.
Android allows users to use 4.4, 5.0, and higher OS versions to benefit from the built-in encryption feature. You need to configure your device settings manually to enable the device encryption feature. Below are the steps for doing it:
Go to Settings > Tap on Security option > Encrypt Device.
Once you’ve enabled this feature, you can enjoy some peace of mind as your data remains unreachable to malicious third-party apps. You can also find a few reliable Encrypt Android apps in the Google Play Store; you can use them and enjoy device encryption.
2. Use a VPN
A VPN is an excellent anonymity tool that establishes a secure connection between your device and the internet. It does this by masking your IP address and encrypting the data traffic. Since it uses military-grade encryption, tunneling protocols, and various security-focused features, it offers greater protection than standard device encryption. But when it comes to preventing Android malware, a VPN doesn’t directly provide any help.
Some of the best VPN providers come with an added malware blocker feature. It offers an advanced solution that takes your online security and privacy to the next level. It blocks websites containing malware and other online threats before they can harm your device and put your digital privacy at risk while connected to the internet.
Thus, you can increase your digital security and get rid of the malware with a VPN. But make sure that the VPN does offer a malware blocker feature.
3. Downloading Apps From Official Sites
One significant way of getting your Android phone infected with malware is downloading fake and malicious apps from unofficial websites. The threat actors develop malicious apps that even bypass Google security checks. When users download such apps, they eventually download malware onto their devices.
The Android OS comes with the Google PlayStore that offers various legitimate apps for downloading developed by Google developers. Hence, it’s strictly recommended to download apps only from the official Google PlayStore. But be vigilant of the pirated apps available on the app store and fool users. You can even configure the settings and uncheck the box that says install from unknown sources to prevent downloading apps outside of Google or containing malware. Also, make sure to download the apps that you’re familiar with.
4. Check for Malware
Android also allows users to check for malware if they have any doubts. Follow the steps as mentioned below and check if your phone is being infected with Android malware or not:
- Open the Google PlayStore app
- Tap on the Menu icon
- Click on Play Protect
- Select Scan
If your Android is infected with malware, it gives a removal option. You can either manually run a scan or, by changing the settings, set it to automatic scan. Selecting an automatic scanning option is more efficient because you’d be altered whenever malware breaches your privacy. Also, it protects you from the hassle of manual scanning. To set up the automatic scanning feature, hit on the settings options at the top of the Play Protect window and turn on both the features.
The device will take a few minutes and then show you the result.
5. Install Antimalware Apps
Installing antimalware apps is another effective way to detect the advanced form of malware and maintain your data and device security. There are various reliable anti-malware tools that you can find on the Google PlayStore so, choose and download the best one and safeguard your phone from malicious attacks. These apps, when run, scan all the downloaded files and apps for malware and other potential threats, remove them, and stop them from harming your Android phone.
Potential Signs for Android Malware
One easiest way to protect your phone from Android malware is to watch for signs that make you feel like something is wrong. The threat actors can get hold of your valuable data in the form of apps you download or accidentally click any online ad. Listed below are the most prominent signs that help in detecting Android malware on your device:
- The device is performing slower than usual.
- Frequent pop-up ads Phone battery started to drain faster.
- Phone getting overheat.
- Long loading time.
- Increase in data usage and phone bills.
- You see apps on your phone that you haven’t used or downloaded before.
- Your device isn’t receiving any new OS updates.
If you experience or see any of the signs mentioned above on your Android device, check it for malware and exercise the security tips.
The Bottom Line
Android malware has become increasingly common nowadays and puts users’ privacy at significant risk. There are various ways the malware can get into your device, and thus you should take measures to maintain your device security. You need to be cautious and keep your eyes open, especially when downloading any new app. Besides this, you should use reliable anti-malware-protecting products and a VPN that protects your device from outside threats and increases your online security.