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Data protection & security

5 tips for Android users to enhance mobile security

5 tips for Android users to enhance mobile security


Android has established a firm place for itself in the smartphone market. According to research by Kantar Worldpanel, Android phones accounted for 69.5 percent of all sales across 12 different markets in the fourth quarter of last year, TechCrunch noted. While many mobile users favor the Android platform for its flexibility, they should also be aware that it is the system most susceptible to malware.

Therefore, it is crucial that Android users make security a top priority. Here are five tips to bolster data and identity protection while using the Android system.

1) Avoid downloading apps from third-party stores
According to a recent F-Secure Labs report, the Android operating system accounted for 97 percent of mobile threats in 2013. However, Forbes contributor Gordon Kelly argued that the OS may not be as insecure as it is often made out to be. He pointed out that most of the mobile malware that affects Android systems stems from small third-party app stores. F-Secure Labs' study showed that just 0.1 percent of apps from Google's official Play Store were found to carry malware. With this in mind, Android users may want to avoid installing apps from sites other than Play Store.

2) Update anti-virus programs
It is crucial for Android users to have the latest versions of anti-virus programs installed on their devices. According to ComputerWeekly, many of the top anti-virus firms - Kaspersky, Norton and AVG, for instance - have developed anti-malware apps for the Android. Common features of these apps include scheduled virus scans, encryption protection and data backup.

3) Stay off public Wi-Fi networks
Public Wi-Fi networks at coffee shops and airports may be convenient, but they are also much less secure than private connections. Unsecured networks can be particularly dangerous for mobile users with outdated versions of the Android system. ComputerWeekly noted that cybercriminals can use free Wi-Fi networks to launch a "middleman" attack. This entails the interception of personal data, such as passwords and credit card information, which can lead to identity theft.

4) Learn to recognize SMS threats
One common way for cybercriminals to profit from data theft is by sending premium rate SMS texts from victims' phones. Mobile users should steer clear of imitation versions of popular apps being sold on third-party stores, as these apps could be the products of cybercriminals.

5) Purchase a data protection plan
While following the previous four tips can help to prevent data theft, it could benefit Android users to take further precautions to maximize their mobile security. Cybercriminals are constantly developing new methods of circumventing firewalls to gain access to personal information. The financially devastating consequences of mobile malware infection can have a long-term impact on victims of data theft.

Mobile phone insurance plans generally do not provide coverage for cases of fraud. Fortunately, ProtectCELL's data protection program does. Not only does the plan allow individuals to back up important personal documents, it also helps fraud victims restore their identities quickly and effectively.

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