While Google has just committed to updating Nexus devices with monthly security updates and have patched the terrifying Stagefright flaw, the open source and fragmented nature of Android means that your phone or tablet are never going to be hundred per cent secure.
This means you have two options. Either you can smash your phone with a hammer, grab your bug-out bag and retreat to the woods to live in splendid isolation, or you can take precautions. If you choose the latter, here are nine apps to help make your device more secure. This includes monitoring your device from malware, keeping your passwords safe, blocking spam calls and how to find your phone again if you should lose it.
360 Security protects against malware, vulnerabilities, adware and Trojans, and also scans installed apps and APK files in real time.
NowSecure monitors your device’s system, apps, configuration and network for security vulnerabilities and notifies you of potential threats.
Both protecting your privacy and keeping you safe from phishing scams, Free VPN: Hotspot Shield VPN secures your Wi-Fi with HTTPS – encryption that’s commonly used to keep online payments secure.
LastPass Password Manager makes it easier to have a unique password for every account, by providing both a secure place to store passwords and generating new ones that should be a little harder to crack than ‘Password123’. LastPass also works across mobile and desktop so you can protect every aspect of your digital life.
The Mr. Number app lets you block calls and texts, in addition to automatically intercepting calls from unknown or private numbers.
Lock down pics and videos
Secure Gallery helps keep your private photos and videos private, by securing them with a password or PIN.
Find your lost phone
While you can track your phone’s location just by typing ‘Where my Android?’ into Chrome for PC, Where’s My Droid has a particular set of skills if your phone is stolen. As well as helping you find the device by its GPS signal and being able to make it ring remotely, pro features include snapping a photo of the thief’s face and remotely wiping all data from the device and SIM cas.
Monitor your apps
See every connection your apps make to the internet in real-time, including whether they’re transmitting or receiving any data, with Network Log. However, please note this app does require root access.
Get a firewall
AFWall+ lets you create different firewall rules on a per-app basis, including which apps can connect over 4G or Wi-F, so you can have total control over which apps access your networks. Once again, this is a rooted app.
This is an extract from ‘101 hacks to upgrade your Android,’ which you can read in full in Android Magazine issue 55, available to buy in print or download digitally now.