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Monitor your data usage with viaProtect

Keep track of your data use with this handy and free-to-install app.

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Keeping track of the data you’re using on your Android phone isn’t difficult. Newer versions of the OS have a built-in monitor that lets you set usage limits and alerts you when you’re close to them. But viaProtect goes several steps further. This isn’t an app for monitoring the data you’re using, it’s for making sure that data isn’t going anywhere it isn’t supposed to. You get a regularly updated breakdown of the organisations you’re sending your data to, and an in-depth analysis of the risk your phone is in.

The app gives you a score, and keeps an eye on all the apps you’re using to make sure they’re not doing anything they shouldn’t. If you’re a power user, with a rooted device and developer settings unlocked, then it’s a great way to make sure your device, and everything on it, is safe from harm. In this tutorial we’ll show you how to get the app up and running, and how to ensure your Android device is secure.

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For more expert tutorials, make sure you pick up the latest issue of Android Magazine.

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    Register your device

    Once you’ve downloaded the app you’ll be prompted to register by entering your email. It’s worth doing because an account gives you access to the web version, which lets you manage multiple Android devices from your computer. Helpful if you’ve got more than one phone.

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    Check your score

    The app will now give you a security score for your device. This is a breakdown of the vulnerabilities of your phone. Tapping the circular score marker takes you to a list of the flaws and strengths of your phone so you can see what, if anything, needs some attention.

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    Where’s it going?

    Head back to the main screen and tap on Organization. This takes you to a list of companies who you have been sending data too. Google will probably be at the top of the list, as you might imagine. Tap on a company for a detailed list of what’s going where.

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    What are you sending?

    The breakdown shows you which apps and services are sending your data to the company. With Google a lot of the percentage comes from your OS, unsurprisingly. You can also see how much of the data is encrypted and how much isn’t by scrolling to the bottom of the page.

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    Which countries?

    Head back out to the main screen and tap on the Countries tab. This will show you which countries are getting your data. Again, tapping on a country will give you a more in-depth look at the data, breaking it up into apps and services, encrypted or decrypted, and organizations.

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    Look at the Sensors

    Tap the cube in the top-right of the screen to be shown some options, then tap Sensors. This shows the processes the app runs to check your security, and when they run. Tap the arrow to run them straight away, or long press a sensor to run it individually.

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    Set your notifications

    In the same options menu there’s a Settings tab. Tap on that and you’ll be able to check or uncheck a box to say whether you’d like viaProtect to warn you of security threats via notifications. It’s worth leaving it running if your device is at a high risk level.

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    Get some help

    If you find yourself stuck at any point tap on the menu button in the top-right corner of the screen. This gives you a link to the web-based help directory for the app. There’s a lot there and it’s likely any questions you have will be answered somewhere inside.

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