25 June 2015

Trend Micro shows how Android devices can be made more secure

According to Strategy Analytics, Android dominated the global smartphone market in 2014 with 1 billion units shipped worldwide, accounting for 81% of all smartphones shipped last year.

“Many users choose Android over other OS-based devices because first, the devices can be relatively cheap; second, it’s known for fast and efficient data storage and third, it’s available across different form factors, brands, and price points,” said Paul Oliveria, Researcher at Trend Micro.

Since it is so common, Android is also popular with hackers. Trend Micro has come up with a list of seven security tweaks that mobile users can employ to protect their data:

1. Lock the screen – Enabling a screen unlock code will prevent a device thief from accessing your mobile data.

2. Protect your data – Android comes with security measures that can be easily enabled. The Android security screen also includes an option to encrypt the device.

3. Strengthen passwords and app permissions – Remember to check the features that the app is allowed to access, and don’t forget to use strong and unique passwords. If passwords are re-used, hackers can also reuse them on other accounts.

4. Install a security app – An app that offers anti-theft features like remote wipe-out, tracking, and locking, as well as malware scanning and detection can help mitigate potential threats.

5. Connect to secure networks – Unsecured Wi-Fi networks can be used to intercept data in a ploy called a 'man in the middle' attack. Avoid conducting online banking, financials, and purchasing over public networks. Home Wi-Fi should be secured with a password.

6. Avoid rooting your device – While rooting allows more control over a device, it could also allow malicious apps to access data. This also makes it difficult to patch and update the OS and apps, which could leave your device vulnerable.

7. Download from official app stores – Downloading from third-party sites or app stores is one of the easiest ways for any mobile device to get infected. Limiting your apps to those from official or trusted app stores (like the Google Play app store) can lower the risks.

Need context?

Read Trend Micro’s blog post on securing an Android device