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Home / Tips and Tricks / How to protect, protect and lock your Android phone completely

How to protect, protect and lock your Android phone completely

Android phones can get a bad rap, but they are actually pretty safe. Or at least they can be.

With a little work, your Galaxy, Pixel or OnePlus phone can be a real fortress, almost impenetrable to hacks, attacks and bad apps. So if you are looking for some extra security or a full lock of your phone, here's all you need to keep your data from falling into the wrong hands.

Android Security: Standard Protection

Even if you skip the entire configuration process and ignore all security measures, your Android phone still does a lot to keep your information safe.

Play protect

  google play protect IDG

Google has built a malware scanner directly into the Play Store called Play Protect. First of all, it runs a security check on apps before downloading them, but more importantly, it also checks your phone for any apps that may have gone wrong after downloading them. If it finds something, it will warn you via a notification and in extreme cases remove them from your device on your own. You can check your Google Play Protect settings and see the apps it scanned on the Updates tab in the My Apps and Games section of the Play Store.


Always Since Android 5 Lollipop, Android has offered complete device encryption by default, as long as you set a kind of lock method on your phone (pattern, pin or password). In Android 7 Nougat, which switches to file-based encryption, but the end result is basically the same: Data on your phone is protected with standard 256-bit AES encryption as soon as it is locked, so if no one knows your password, then nothing can see .

Android Security: Basic Protection

You don't have to be a paranoid android to put a basic protection layer on your device, you just need to change some settings.

Entering a Password

While newer Android phones offer many biometric unlocking methods, each phone still requires one of three traditional locking methods: pattern, PIN, or password. They are not created equal, but. A pattern (made of a 9-point square) is easiest to remember but least safe. A 6-digit pin is much better, but best of all is a random password. But even if you choose a string of letters and numbers, you should set a reminder to change once every six months or so. And make sure it's not the same as protecting your primary Google account.

Turn on 2-step verification

Whatever you use your phone to do, your Google Account is central to everything that happens. As the name suggests, with 2-step verification, you add an extra layer of protection, so even if someone steals your password, they will still not be able to access your account. This is how it works. When prompted to enter your Google password, a code will be sent to your default phone via text or call that must be entered to access your account.

While not necessarily protecting your phone from theft, it will protect what's on it. For example, if someone tries to sign in to your Google Account from another device, you will know through the 2-step message on your phone. And then you can take appropriate action and change your password.

Install Find My Device

  google find my device IDG

Google offers a useful tool for tracking a lost or stolen phone directly in Play Store. Called Find my device, it lets you track, lock and delete your handset from anywhere with just a crane. After downloading, you can sign in with your Google Account and allow it to access your device's location. From then on, you can log in to Google's website Search for my devices and immediately find where your phone is if you lose it. You can also remotely lock your device, view a message or phone number for who finds it, or delete the contents of your phone completely.

Stay updated

Google releases monthly security updates for Android as most newer phones are distributed relatively quickly. You don't have to check on them. Once available, the phone will automatically notify you. But don't try, because it's easy to forget about them. Specify or schedule an update to be installed as soon as your phone notifies you that it is available. It only takes a few minutes and it can make all the difference.

Android Security: Moderate Protection

When the basic stuff is out, let's work on putting an even stronger lock on your Android phone. 19659005] Configure Fingerprint Lock

  google pixel print IDG

A password can be a powerful way to secure your phone, but it can't beat your fingerprint. And if you bought your Android phone over the past two years, it's a good chance that it has a fingerprint sensor either under the screen, on the back, or built into the power switch. Find it and move on to your security settings to register one or more fingerprints. It takes just a few seconds to adopt a very important protective layer.

Many phones also offer face locking, but if you don't have a Huawei Mate 20, you should skip them. That's because most phones use the 2D camera to scan your face rather than a 3D map as with Face ID on iPhone or Huawei's deep sense camera, so they are very easy to spoof with a little more than one picture.

Preventing Unknown Downloads

One of the biggest benefits of Android is also one of the biggest risks: downloading apps that aren't on the Play Store. When installing an app from the outside of the Google store, you lose on Play Protect and open the phone against any malicious code. To keep an eye on any issues, Google has built a way to turn off accidental or inadvertent downloads. In the settings Special app access you will find a tab Unknown Sources or Unknown Apps that allows you to turn off the installation of apps from a non-Play Store source, for example, Chrome or any other browser.

  android unknown apps IDG

The mechanism depends on your phone a little different. Until Android Nougat, there was a single switch that allowed you to block or install apps from unknown sources. In Android Oreo and later, the license is granted per app, so you can allow Chrome or Slack to install apps while blocking others. It is a good habit to visit this setting every time to make sure there are no malicious apps that may install software behind the scenes. If you find something that is, tap the name and turn it off.

Uninstall apps

Considering roadless apps is one of the best ways to keep the system safe, good, old-fashioned cleaning. Just jump into your appbox and uninstall apps that you haven't used for a while. It will release storage and it will ensure that they do not become potential risks.

Check app permissions

It is also a good idea to check in on your app permissions now and then. When you download an app from the Play Store and start it for the first time, Android asks if it can access things like microphone, camera, phone etc. Many times we just knock off access without even realizing what they are asking for, but you can always back and recall it after that fact. Go to the Permissions tab inside Apps in Settings and you will be able to see which apps are allowed to do anything and turn off everything that looks suspicious.

Android Security: High Protection

If you came here to learn how to make your Android phone a vault, then here's what you need to do.

Disable Smart Lock for Password and Auto Login

Smart Lock for Password can be convenient, but if you want to lock your phone you have to manage your passwords on your own. And that means unfortunately you turn off Smart Lock for password. This is why: Google's method does not use any form of authentication in a place or account that password managers do, so after you log in to your account for the first time on your device, all your passwords will be available. It can obviously be a problem if someone wraps your phone.

  google smart lock IDG

You will find the checkbox in the security settings for your Google Account, not in the Security tab of Settings. When you get there, press Security, and then scroll down to Log in to other sites and drop saved passwords . You will see two switches: Offer to save password and Automatic login . If you do not want to turn off the whole thing, you can also choose sites that ignore automatic login. We believe that a much better solution would be to require biometric authentication each time a password is entered (which Apple does on the iPhone), so until that happens, turn it off if you're paranoid.

Download a password

If you turn off Smart Lock, the only way to keep your passwords secure and organized is to unlock them in a password manager. Stronger and Safer Than Smart Lock Password Synchronization Google offers, a password manager encourages unique, complex passwords, lets you organize and manage multiple logins, and store sensitive notes, credit card details, and anything else you want to keep in a digital box. And it's all protected with a password or a fingerprint, whichever you choose.

Because your password manager is a separate service, you can access your passwords on any device or browser, so even if someone steals your phone, your personal data will still be protected. And with Android Oreo you can also integrate some of them into AutoFill on your phone (of course).

Our favorite manager is LastPass, but there are plenty of good options out there. You have to pay an annual fee, but it's worth it. Check out the PCWorld guide to the best password managers for everything you need to know.

Use a VPN

No matter how many security measures you add to your phone, it is of course vulnerable every time you visit the web. Why? Because the information you send can be stolen and spied with little effort, especially if you are using a public Wi-Fi hotspot. If you use a VPN service, your information is encrypted before it hits the airwaves, so your data is completely protected from anyone except the VPN provider and any website you visit. Even if someone manages to steal it, it is protected.

There are many VPNs in the Play Store, so make sure you check out the rankings and user reviews before choosing. Our recommendation to start is TunnelBear, which is free and super simple. If you are looking for something more advanced, you can download OpenVPN for Android and experiment with Mullvad, the best PC download in our summary of the best VPN services.

Use an authentication app

We have already discussed how Important 2-step verification is for your Google account, but you should also use it for any service that offers it: Twitter, Facebook, Dropbox, etc. But if you To take it a step further, you can use an authentication app to generate unique codes directly on your phone instead of sending them SMS text messages, which can be more risky. Google does its own authentication app for your Google Account and many other sites that are free in the Play Store, so we recommend checking it out.

Get a physical security key

  google titan security key Google

If you want the ultimate protection for your accounts, nothing beats on an NFC security key. Roughly the size of a flash drive (so you can attach it to a keychain) and completely phishing-safe, a security key delivers codes and stores all your authentication on a physical device. So it is basically impossible to get into any of your accounts without the key, even if someone manages to steal all your passwords. Titan's $ 50 Security Key containing USB and Bluetooth
security keys is a good option from Google, but there are also cheaper alternatives from Yubico .

Enter Lockdown Mode

If all else fails, Google has added a new Lockdown option to Android 9 that lets you completely secure your phone at a crane. Hold down the power switch for a second and you will see an option for Lockdown at the bottom of the list. (If you do not, you can enable it in the Lock Screen settings.) Press it and your phone will immediately lock, turn off the fingerprint scanner (so that someone cannot force the finger to unlock it), remove all messages from the lock screen and disable Smart Lock. And it will be so until the next time you unlock your phone.

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