Protect Your Android Device

Android security

Usually, when you think about smartphones you think iPhone. Well, it come as a bit of a shock to hear that isn’t the only smartphone that’s available – there are Android ones too.

Almost every article about protecting smartphones is aimed at Apple users, well we’re about to change all that. You see, Android devices are actually more popular than their fruity counterpart (Yay!) and, due to their open operating systems, far more vulnerable to hacking and malware (boo).

So, to help you keep your information, files and photos safe here’s a quick round up of things to look out for so you can keep your Android phone (and its contents) safe from attackers.

Ready?

The Con

The most successful hacks are those that dupe you into entering your password and email address. Usually they come in the shape of a pop-up or false login screen. Your information is then get to a bot that attempts to log in to anything and everything on your behalf.

Sneaky.

The bad news is there’s no third-party way of avoiding this, so all we can recommend you do is be alert.

App installation from unknown sources

Your Android phone allows you to install apps that don’t come from the Google Play Store. This can be useful, but it can also be a curse. Once you’ve enabled your phone to install one from an ‘unknown source’, very few apps ask tell you to go back and disable it once the app is installed, leaving your phone vulnerable. So take care when installing ‘off piste’.

Malware apps

Google has worked hard to set up user testing areas for companies that want to beta test new features. As a result, should you decide to go ‘off piste’ and install apps outside of the Google Play Store, make sure you’re in no doubt that the app is safe.

These apps could be tampered with, or the app could just be malware that is labelled as something else.

Antivirus software for Android

There’s no question that Android-based devices are rapidly becoming the target for a surging tide of malware and spyware, which is why protection is vital.

MPM IT recommends BullGuard Mobile Security for Android (other products are available) because it delivers comprehensive protection so your photos and other data are always protected.

A range of features means that it’s always up to data so infections are halted, including unwanted apps such as adware. It also scans new apps for malicious code that may be ‘hiding’ in the app. Plus, a cloud-based AV engine doesn’t drain your battery while ensuring you always have the latest protection.

You can check the status of your phone with its full scan feature, which checks for possible infections, malware or unwanted apps such as adware. And it automatically scans apps as soon as they are installed on your device notifying you immediately of any malicious or suspicious apps.

Yes, it’s a faff, but we think it’s worth it for the peace of mind you’ll get that all your personal information is safe and sound.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

Source: BullGuard

10 Ways to Lock Down Your iPhone or Android Device

Padlock

It’s horrible when you realise your phone is missing.

Your heart drops and all you can think about is all the data you have stored on it and of course the inconvenience of being phone-less.

OK, you had set up the “Find my iPhone” or Android Device Manager, but the thief can do a lot of damage before you have discovered its location.

So how can you lock down your phone to make sure its contents remain safe?

Here are 10 easy ways to ensure the security of your iPhone or Android device.

1. Passcode

It’s always best to start in the most obvious place.

If you haven’t already done so, set up a passcode to make sure you have at least one barrier between your data and would-be thieves.

2. Find my iPhone and Android Device Manager

I mentioned these briefly earlier. Both of these programmes can pinpoint your missing device, lock it remotely, set off ringers and wipe all their data, so make sure you activate them.

For Android it can be done by going to your browser and whilst signed into your Google account, visit the Android Device Manager page. For iOS, tap iCloud, Find my iPhone and enable the setting.

3. Immediate password

Both iOS and Android give you the option to wake your phone without a passcode after it’s been recently unlocked.

Whilst that might seem a good idea in theory, it leaves a rather large chink in your security. Personally, I wouldn’t use this feature, but if you want to you can find it under Settings – Security on your Android device and Settings – Passcode on your iPhone.

4. Block access to control centre (iOS)

This is the slide up window on your iPhone and iPad that gives you easy access to things like Wi-Fi, alarms, camera etc..

The problem with this that it also makes it easy for anyone to mess with your phone. In fact, a thief can use it to put your phone in airplane mode rendering the Find my iPhone app useless.

To block access to it, go to Settings – Control Centre and switch off the “Access on Lock Screen” setting.

5. Better PIN or password

Upping the anti with a longer and stronger password or PIN is an obvious way to increase your phone’s security.

On Android go to Settings – Security – Screen Lock and then tap either PIN or Password and follow the steps.

For iPhone, tap Settings – Passcode, then disable simple passcode option. Once that’s done you’ll be prompted to create and verify a new passcode.

6. Android – encrypt data

If you have Lollipop pre-installed you data is already encrypted.

If yours is older (or has been updated to Lollipop) the encryption isn’t turned on by default.

To set encryption go to Settings – Security – Encrypt phone and tap the final confirmation button. Be warned though, depending on how much data you have it can take several hours before the process is complete and you’ll need to keep your phone plugged into its charger for the whole process.

7. Activation lock (iOS)

A new iOS8 feature is Activation Lock prevents anyone without the proper passcode from activating a lost iOS device rendering it useless.

However, it only works if yo have the Find my iPhone app enabled.

8. Put your name and contact information on the lock screen (Android)

If your phone goes missing, you can always use the Android Device Manager to lock your device and flash a “rescue” message on the lock screen.

It’s a great idea, but if your lost Android phone is in airplane mode or out of wireless range sending a rescue message with your name and number won’t do much good.

Instead, add a message to your device’s lock screen now, before it gets lost—a message with your name, a phone number, an email address, or another means of reaching you.

Just tap Settings –  Security – Owner info, and enter the text of the message. On pre-Lollipop phones, you’ll also need to check the box next to Show owner info on lock screen.

9. Set your iPhone to “ping” to Apple just before its battery dies

If your missing iPhone is about to run out of juice, leaving it unable to send a “ping” to Find My iPhone, go to Settings –  iCloud – Find my iPhone and switch on the Send Last Location setting.

Your phone will then send out a final ping complete with location data to Apple’s servers, so at least you’ll know where your iPhone was before it died.

10. Hide notifications from the lock screen

Lock-screen notifications make for an easy way to check your e-mail, text messages, calendar events, and other mobile goings-on without having to unlock your phone.

They also make it easy for strangers to read your messages and take a peek at your digital life, so it’s probably best to hide them from your lock screen.

For Android “Lollipop” go to Settings – Sounds and notification, then tap the “When device is locked setting. Then you can choose from three options: Show all notification content, Hide sensitive notification content (which, for example, still flashes alerts for new email but doesn’t display subject lines or contents), and Don’t show notifications at all.

As for iOS, unfortunately, hiding all notifications from the lock screen isn’t so easy, You’re going to have to check each app that offers notifications and see if lock-screen notifications are enabled by going to Settings – Notifications, tap an app in the Include list, and make sure Show on Lock Screen isn’t switched on.

There you go, 10 simple ways to help you lock down your smartphone.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

Source: PCWorld.com

Is Android’s Security Good Enough?

More and mbouncerore of us are moving into the cloud as it is often a convenient and cost effective solution for small businesses. Plus, with the growing popularity of smartphones, the number of people using apps for business (and personal use) is growing.

But how secure is our data when using apps?

That has been an issue for a while now. Apple have stringent controls over what apps make it to their store, so the issue of security isn’t, well an issue. But when it comes to Android, it’s an entirely different story because there are no pre-publication clearance controls.

Last year, PC Pro ran an article about Android security (or rather the lack of it) and mentioned an experiment run by Dan Wallach, an associate professor in the Department of Computer Science at Rice University, Houston. With is permission, his undergraduate security class listened in on the traffic to and from his Android smartphone.

Using Wireshark and Mallory, they quickly discovered that “ Google wasn’t encrypting traffic heading for Google Calendar (using the default Google Calendar app that came with the phone)” although it does go on to mention that Google is “planning on introducing encrypted traffic to Google Calendar on Android as part of an unspecified maintenance release in the future.”

Not only that but, “…while the professor had a Facebook account configured to specify fully encrypted traffic, the Android Facebook app ignored that and sent everything in the clear…especially…Facebook isn’t doing anything like OAuth signatures, so it may be possible to inject bogus posts as well…[plus]one of the requests that the class saw heading to the Facebook server was carrying a SQL statement, which doesn’t bode well.”

It would therefore appear that Android apps, even authorised ones, may not offer you the type of protection you would expect to receive.

Over to you

In light of the article mentioned above, what are your feelings about Android apps?

Have you had any bad experiences?

Leave a comment below, we’d love to hear what you have to say.