Android security: The last tip you will need for 2020

Jack Wallen is taking another opportunity to remind Android device owners to use these phones with a great deal of caution, as they could otherwise become victims of malware.

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Image: Google

2020 is coming to an end. In fact, this is the last piece I’m going to write for TechRepublic this year, and wow, has it been a year. Don’t worry, I won’t be going by train wreck for the past 365 days. Instead, I want to give one last reminder for the year. I bring up this reminder from time to time and it serves as a warning to me to help Android users better understand the truth they need to understand.

This truth focuses on the security of your mobile device. No matter how many times I pull out this “old but good” one, Android users still ignore best practices, only to find themselves the victim of malware or ransomware attacks on their mobile devices.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

SEE: Identity theft protection policy (TechRepublic Premium)

Google’s Play protection is part of the problem

Google’s Play protection gives users a false sense of security. Play Protect should protect devices from installing software that contains malware. He mostly does a pretty good job.

Read that sentence again. It should read, “Play Protect works great at preventing malware from finding its way onto your devices.” Unfortunately, no.

In fact, Play Protect didn’t stop malware from loading into the Play Store and then installing on devices around the world. Anyone who shrinks from safety, assuming he is protected, lives under false equivalence.

Everyone tell me, “Google Play Protect is not guaranteed protection.” It’s simple. The problem goes even deeper, as the anti-malware tools found in the Google Play Store aren’t much better. What should an Android user do? You certainly can’t always count on that Protected by Play Protect badge while installing apps (Figure A).

Figure A

Play Protect protects this device – or is it?

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Play Protect protects this device – or is it?

I’m not saying Google shuns its duties in protecting users. In fact, Google works pretty well with the security task. However, Google faces almost impossible quotas on a daily basis. Just like with banks, hackers are always coming up with new ways to steal data. That puts companies like Google on the defensive and being in that position is never good. Reactive safety cannot guarantee protection. Therefore, no one’s device will ever be 100% safe unless it is turned off. However, the average person cannot work with the phone turned off.

How to protect yourself

What can you do? Follow this list of tips I’ve given over the years:

  • Never install software outside of Google Play Protect.

  • Install only those applications must to use.

  • Do not overload applications from the side. Period. Never.

  • Do not install applications without a description.

  • Do not install applications with multiple reviews.

  • Before installing the application, check the developer (information can be found in the Developer Contact section). Look for them – if you can’t find information about them, avoid the app.

  • Before installing the app, search Google to determine if there are any known issues.

  • Only install programs from known entities (such as Google, Amazon, Spotify, etc.).

  • If you have the choice between buying an app or using a free ad app, always opt for the purchase option, as ads are one of the more popular ways to inject malware into your device.

  • Avoid applications with titles or descriptions in broken English. Google Play apps that contain malware have titles like (and these are legitimate apps found to be malicious): Cream Trip, Crush Car, Desert Against, Find 5 Differences, Find Hidden, Iron It, Jump Jump, Money Destroyer , Rolling Scroll, Shoot Them, Shooting Run and Sway Man.

This may seem like a pretty long list of things to consider when installing apps on an Android device. Think about it this way: The more precautions you take, the less likely you are to have to deal with a malicious piece of software that steals your data or keeps a ransom on your phone. While the list above isn’t a guarantee, it will do a lot to enhance the offline security experience found on Android.

Above all, if you access your mobile and even your desktop, security in such a way that you keep in mind that it is not a matter of if but when, you will be much more inclined to a healthy dose of caution.

We hope that 2021 will be the bearer of a lot of good news for everyone, but when it comes to the security of your Android device, don’t think you’re safe because 2020 is in the rearview mirror. Without much caution, you could liquidate the victim of malware.

Rest assured, so you don’t have to be sorry.

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