8 Android Settings To Secure Your Devices

In the present age, mobile devices have become an important part of our lives, therefore securing them from data breaches is very important. With the advancement of technology, risks linked with mobile devices concerning data theft have increased too.

Without proper security, there are a variety of risks like data breaches, malware attacks, Phishing attacks, unauthorized access, IoT vulnerabilities, etc. which have placed our data at stake.

With the increase in risks, there are advancements in security protocols too through which we can protect our essential data from theft. These security protocols include implementing strong passwords, enabling two-factor authentication, keeping the software and firmware up to date, using reputable antivirus software, being cautious of suspicious emails and links, and utilizing secure Wi-Fi networks.

In this blog, we will comprehensively discuss various security protocols through which we can protect our mobile devices, especially Android devices from potential cyber-attacks. These protocols can be implemented simply through Android settings.

Android settings for secure Android devices

With the increased use of Android devices, security protocols of devices have been enhanced which can be simply implemented via the Android settings of your device. These Android settings include:

  • Setting Up a Strong Lock Screen
  • Enabling Two-Factor Authentication
  • Updating Android OS
  • Securing App Downloads
  • Managing App Permissions
  • Enabling Find My Device
  • Utilizing Secure Network Connections
  • Encrypting Android Device
  • Securing Lock Screen Notifications
  • Activating Google Play Protect
  • Disabling Unknown Sources
  • Securing Lock Screen Biometrics
  • Enabling Automatic App Updates
  • Setting Up Google Play Family Library

In this section of the blog, we will discuss eight of these Android settings in detail.

Setting Up a Strong Lock Screen

One of the most fundamental steps to secure your personal and sensitive data in Android devices is by setting a strong screen lock. There are various options for screen locks which we can choose from Android settings inbuilt into our devices. Each type of screen lock method provides a different level of protection for our sensitive data. These lock screen methods include:

  • PIN
  • Pattern
  • Password
  • Biometric authentication

In the next subsection, we will discuss each lock screen method briefly to have insight into the lock screen feature.

Types of screen lock

  • PIN (Personal Identification Number): It consists of a combination of different numbers which can be any sequence, your birth date, phone number, etc. As it is the simplest form of screen lock, so it’s easy to guess or break it. So, while setting a PIN for your Android device, it must be a strong, unguessable, and unique number.
  • Pattern Lock: Pattern lock allows you to draw a specific pattern on a grid of dots to unlock your device. Similar to a PIN, it is important to create a complex pattern that cannot be replicated easily.
  • Password: It is a type of screen lock option that is a combination of uppercase, lowercase letters, numbers, and special characteristics. Among the first three types of screen lock methods, it is the strongest one and offers a high level of security. Just like PIN and Pattern, it must be complex and unguessable.
  • Biometric Lock: In biometric authentication, we either use fingerprint or facial recognition to unlock our device. Among screen lock methods, the biometric system is the most advanced and secure feature in our screen lock security option.

As we have gone through different types of Lock screen methods, Now, we will discuss how to set a strong lock screen from Android settings inbuilt into your system.

Tips for setting up a strong lock screen

Tips for setting a strong and unbreachable lock screen include:

  •  Avoiding obvious patterns or PINs
  • Changing your lock screen regularly
  • Enable two-factor authentication
  • Keep your device updated
  • Be mindful of app permissions

After discussing tips, we must go through a step-by-step process to enable the lock screen from Android settings.

  • Go to the Android settings option on your Android device.
  • Select the lock screen option from the menu and choose your lock screen type.
  • Enable any option (PIN, Patter, Password) from the Android settings menu to protect your device.

Finally, we will end this subsection of the blog by discussing the importance of the lock screen method.

Significance of a secure lock screen

  •  lock screen acts as the primary defense against unauthorized access to your device.
  • A strong lock screen can prevent spying eyes from gaining access to your data like emails, photos, messages, and banking information.
  • In case, if your device gets stolen or lost, a secure, unbreachable, and strong lock screen can prevent any potential misuse of your data.

Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)

It is a multi-factor authentication that adds extra protection to your devices. It requires users to provide two different types of identification factors to gain access. These factors typically include:

  • Something you know, like a password or PIN
  • Something you have, such as a mobile device or security key

As we have an initial understanding of 2FA, now we will briefly discuss the significance of 2FA in the next subsection of the blog.

The Importance of 2FA

  • With the advancement in hacking techniques, hackers can use various tactics like phishing attacks and brute-force techniques to gain unauthorized access to your devices. By enabling 2FA, you can significantly strengthen the security of your accounts, even if your password is compromised

Methods of enabling 2FA on Android devices

Google Authenticator

Google Authenticator is a reliable method for enabling 2FA on Android devices. It works by generating time-based one-time passwords (TOTP) that are used for authentication. Steps involved in enabling 2FA via Google authenticator include:

  • Installing the Google Authenticator app from the Google Play Store.
  • Opening the app and following the setup instructions.
  • Choosing the option to add an account by selecting the “Scan barcode” or “Manual entry
  • Once the account is added, Google Authenticator will generate a unique TOTP that refreshes every 30 seconds.
  • When logging in to the website or service, enter the generated TOTP along with your password to complete the 2FA verification process.
SMS Verification

Another method for enabling 2FA on Android devices is through SMS verification. This method involves receiving a verification code via text message to verify your identity. Steps involved in enabling 2FA via SMS verification include:

  • Visiting the website or service you want to enable 2FA for and navigate to the security settings.
  • Looking for the option to enable 2FA via SMS or text message.
  • Enter your phone number and request a verification code.
  • Once you receive the code, enter it on the website or service to complete the verification process.

Now, we are done with the two-factor authentication Android setting, we will move on to the next Android setting which is updating the Android operating system and getting an insight into it.

Update Your Android OS

One of the important Android settings includes updating the Android operating system because outdated systems leave devices exposed to security risks. In the next subsection of this blog, we will be focusing on the importance of updating OS along with the step-by-step procedure to update Android OS

Importance of operating system update

The importance of updating OS includes:

  • Enhancing security: Cybercriminals are continuously looking for weaknesses in outdated versions of software to breach your data. Therefore, updating your OS allows you to benefit from the latest security patches and bug fixes. These updates strengthen the defense of your device by minimizing unauthorized access, data breaches, and other malicious activities
  • Access to new features and performance improvements: Android OS updates are providing users with exciting new features and improved performance. With each update, your Android OS offers a range of benefits like
    • Access to innovative functionalities
    • Enhanced user experiences
    • Optimizations to boost the overall efficiency of your device
    •  Advanced privacy settings
    • Improved battery life
    • Smoother multitasking

Step-by-step procedure to update Android OS

The procedure to update the Android operating system includes:

Checking for Updates

  • Go to your device’s settings menu.
  • Look for the “System” or “Software Update” option, and tap on it to check for any available updates.

Downloading and Installing Updates

  • If an update is available, download and install it.

Restarting your device

  • Restart your Android device to explore the new features and enhanced security measures that the updated Android OS offers.

Secure App Downloads

In our day-to-day experience, we are always curious about new apps and their functioning therefore we download and explore them. However, it’s not safe all the time because downloading apps from unknown sources can pose significant risks to your device and personal information. Risks associated with insecure app downloads include:

  • Malware and Viruses
  • Data Privacy Concerns
  • Lack of Quality Control
  • Hidden Costs and In-App Purchases
  • Legal and Copyright Issues

Importance of secure app downloads

In this section of the blog, we will discuss the significance of relying on reputable app stores and the potential risks associated with downloading apps from untrusted sources.

  • Security and Protection: Google implements strict guidelines to ensure that the apps available on its platform are safe and secure. Each app undergoes a comprehensive review to identify any malicious code. So, by adhering to these strict security measures, the Google Play Store provides a protected environment for users to explore and download apps.
  • Authenticity and Reliability: All apps available on the google play store are verified and come from trusted developers. This verification process helps to eliminate the risk of downloading tampered apps that may contain harmful elements.
  • Regular Updates and Support: At the Google app store, app developers often release updates to enhance functionality, fix bugs, and address security concerns. Downloading apps from reputable sources ensure that you receive these updates, keeping your apps optimized and secure

Tips for Verifying App Authenticity

Tips for secure app download included

  • Downloading Apps from Trusted Sources
  • Reading App Reviews and Ratings
  • Verifying Developer Information
  • Checking App Permissions
  • Enabling Play Protect
  • Keeping Apps and Operating System Updated
  • Using Mobile Security Software

As we know the tips to verify app authenticity, now we will move to the feature of Android devices that helps protect your device from harmful apps and malware.

Google play protect

Google Play Protect is a built-in security feature that helps protect your device from harmful apps and malware. It regularly scans your installed apps and provides warnings if any issues are detected. To enable play protection, follow these steps:

  • Open the Google Play Store app on your Android device.
  • Tap on the three horizontal lines in the top-left corner to open the side menu.
  • Select “Play Protect” from the menu options.
  • Ensure that the “Scan apps with Play Protect” is turned on.

Enable Find My Device

One of the essential features that help you locate your lost or stolen device is “Find My Device.” In this section of the blog, we will discuss the significance of enabling the Find My Device feature and the Instructions for enabling and using the Find My Device feature.

Importance of enabling the Find My Device feature

Enhancing Device Security: With the activation of the Find My Device feature, you can gain the ability to track and locate your device remotely. In case of theft or misplacement, you can quickly identify the device’s last known location, making it easier to recover it.

Efficient Device Management: It offers a range of management options that enhance your control over your device and empower proactive measures to protect your privacy by

  • remotely locking your device
  • preventing unauthorized access to your personal information
  • erasing all data on the device to safeguard sensitive data.

Instructions for enabling and using the Find My Device feature

Enabling Find My Device

Follow these simple steps to enable Find My Device:

  • Open the Android settings app on your Android device.
  • Scroll down and select “Security & location.”
  • Tap on “Find My Device.”
  • Toggle the switch to enable the feature.

Once activated, Find My Device will be ready to assist you in locating your smartphone in case it goes missing.

Locating a Lost or Stolen Android Device

If you misplace your Android device or suspect it has been stolen, Find My Device helps you to recover it. To locate your device, simply follow the below-mentioned steps:

  • Visit the Find My Device website on any internet-enabled device or open the Find My Device app on another Android device.
  • Sign in to your Google account associated with the lost device.
  • Find My Device will display a map with the location of your device if it is turned on and connected to the internet.
  • Utilize the available options to remotely ring your device, lock it, or erase its data to prevent unauthorized

Use a Secure Messaging App

People rely heavily on messaging apps for both personal and professional communication. In this subsection of the blog, we will discuss the importance of using secure messaging apps, secure messaging apps for Android devices, and their key security features.

Importance of using secure messaging apps

Following are some reasons why using secure messaging apps is important:

  • Privacy Protection: Secure messaging apps offer end-to-end encryption, which ensures that only the intended recipients can access and read the messages.
  • Data Security: Secure messaging apps use security measures to protect your data. They store messages and other information in encrypted formats, making it extremely difficult for anyone to intercept them.
  • Protection Against Hacking: Hackers usually target messaging apps to gain access to sensitive information. Secure messaging apps use advanced security protocols and encryption algorithms to safeguard against hacking attempts Authentication and Verification: Secure messaging apps have features such as two-factor authentication, biometric authentication, or verification codes to ensure that only authorized users can access the app and its messages.
  • Protection Against Malware and Phishing Attacks: Secure messaging apps typically have built-in security measures to detect and prevent malware and phishing attacks. They can identify suspicious links or attachments and warn users before they interact with potentially harmful content

Secure messaging apps for Android devices

Several popular secure messaging apps are available for Android devices that prioritize user privacy and offer encryption. Some of the most widely recognized secure messaging apps are as follows:

  • Signal
  • WhatsApp
  • Telegram
  • Wickr Me

Key security features of secure messaging apps

Signal
  •  End-to-end encryption for all messages, voice calls, video calls, and file transfers.
  • Self-destructing messages that automatically delete after a particular time.
  •  Open-source protocol for transparency and independent security audits.
  • Advanced privacy settings, such as disabling read receipts and typing indicators.
  • Registration without requiring a phone number or personal information.
WhatsApp
  • End-to-end encryption for messages, voice calls, and video calls.
  • Two-factor authentication for an extra layer of security.
  • Ability to verify the encryption security of your conversations using QR codes.
  • WhatsApp Business version for secure communication in professional settings.
Telegram
  • End-to-end encryption for secret chats that support self-destructing messages.
  • Option for cloud-based messages with encrypted storage.
  • Large file-sharing capabilities (up to 2 GB per file) through the app.
  • Channels and groups with varying privacy settings for different types of communication.
  • Cross-platform availability with synchronization across multiple devices.
Wickr Me
  • End-to-end encryption for messages, voice calls, video calls, and file transfers.
  •  Timer-controlled self-destructing messages for enhanced privacy.
  • Secure room creation for group conversations with specific access controls.
  •  Encrypted file sharing with the ability to set expiration times for shared files.
  • Secure Shredder feature for permanently deleting files from your device.

Encrypt Your Android Device

Android device encryption is a technique that transforms the data stored on your Android device into an unreadable format by using complex algorithms. This process ensures that even if your device falls into the wrong hands, the data remains inaccessible without the encryption key.

The Benefits of Android Device Encryption

Enhanced Data Security: By encrypting your Android device, you add an extra layer of protection to your data, making it significantly harder for unauthorized individuals to gain access to your personal information, such as emails, contacts, messages, and files.

  • Protection Against Data Breaches: By enabling Android device encryption, you reduce the risk of your sensitive information falling into the wrong hands, reducing the potential damage caused by a data breach.
  • Safe Data Storage: Encryption ensures that your data remains secure, not only when it’s actively being used but also when it’s stored on your device. Even if your device is lost, stolen, or compromised, the encrypted data remains unreadable, protecting your personal information from unauthorized access.
  • Privacy Enhancement: Encryption helps preserve your privacy by making it exceedingly difficult for cybercriminals to extract sensitive information from your device.

Step-by-step instructions for encrypting an Android device using Android settings

Enabling encryption on your Android device is a simple and easy process that can be done by following simple steps:

  • Backup your data: Before encrypting your device, creating a backup of your data is essential to prevent any potential loss.
  •  Navigate to Android settings: Open the Settings app and scroll down to the “Security” or “Lock Screen and Security” option.
  • Select encryption: Within the Security settings, locate and select the “Encrypt Device” option.
  •  Initiate encryption: Start the encryption process by following the on-screen instructions
  • Complete encryption: Once the encryption process is complete, your device will ask you to enter your lock screen credentials to unlock and access your encrypted data.

Enable Automatic App Updates

This is a feature of Android devices that helps you to enjoy the latest updated features of the app without a manual update procedure.

In this section of the blog, we will discuss the benefits of app updates and instructions for enabling automatic app updates.

Benefits of automatic app updates

Enabling automatic app updates on your Android device offers several benefits that enhance convenience, security, and overall user experience. Below mentioned features are the key advantages of enabling automatic app updates:

  • Time-saving and Convenience: With automatic app updates, your device will download and install app updates without requiring any intervention from you. This ensures the latest versions of apps without manual updates.
  • Enhanced Security: Developers regularly release updates to address any potential security loopholes that could be exploited by hackers. By enabling automatic updates, you ensure that your apps are updated with the latest security patches, reducing the risk of security breaches.
  • Bug Fixes and Performance Improvements: App updates often include bug fixes and performance improvements that enhance the stability and functionality of the applications
  • Compatibility with Operating System Updates: Enabling automatic app updates ensures that your apps stay compatible with the updated Android operating system, allowing you to take advantage of new features and capabilities introduced by the operating system.

Instructions for enabling automatic app updates

To enable automatic app updates on your Android device, follow these instructions:

  • Open the Google Play Store: Open the Play Store app on your device’s home screen
  • Access the Play Store Settings: Tap the hamburger icon in the top-left corner of the screen to open the side menu and select “Settings.”
  • Open the Auto-update Apps Settings: In the Settings menu, tap “Auto-update apps.” This will open the auto-update settings for your apps.
  • Choose the Update Option: In the auto-update apps settings, you will have three options. Select the desired option based on your preferences.
  • Save the Settings: After selecting the desired option, tap the “Done” or “Save” button

Finally, by going through automatic app updates, we have completed our comprehensive view of 8 secure Android settings to secure our Android devices and have gained an apt amount of knowledge for making our Android devices protected from malicious activities.

Conclusion

In conclusion, we will say that we can secure our Android devices using a variety of Android settings like setting up a strong lock screen, enabling two-factor authentication, updating Android OS, securing app downloads, managing app permissions, enabling find my device, utilizing secure network connections, encrypting android device, securing lock screen notifications, activating google play protect, disabling unknown sources, securing lock screen biometrics, enabling automatic app updates, and setting up google play family library.

All these Android settings allow us to securely use our devices without being worried about data breaches and hacking.