Android Security: 10 Ways to Protect Your Device From Malware, Theft

NEWS ANALYSIS: Android is the world's most popular smartphone OS, but it's also the platform that hackers love to attack most.

Android security is constantly in a state of flux. Despite Google's continued claims that its operating system is secure, it's getting hit hard by malicious hackers around the world who have found countless openings to exploit with malware.

Android has become such a magnet for malware that security firm Trend Micro believes that the amount of malware to hit Android this year could top 1 million threats. In other words, the post-PC malware threat is here, and it's targeting Android.

More and more, Android users are starting to accept that reality. They've found that they're getting hit with malware that causes odd issues with their devices, sends information to the waiting hackers and exposes their sensitive data for the taking. It's a scary world when mobile handsets have become the target of malware writers, but it's an even scarier one when your model is their favorite target. But that's the current state of mobile security.

Rather than focus on the threats themselves, here are some tips on what can be done to improve Android security protection for your device, apps and data.

1. Bring on the apps

One of the best things about the Google Play marketplace is that it's packed with applications security companies have built with one goal in mind: beating malware writers. In order to improve Android security, be sure to download security apps. There are plenty available, and mSecure Password Manager and Lookout Mobile Security are among the better ones.

2. Set device passwords

One of the worst things Android users can do with their devices is not set passwords. Unfortunately, a large number of users simply do not put simple password protection on their handsets or tablets to make it more difficult for intruders to break into their devices. It's common sense: Android must be password-protected.

3. Stay up on the latest news

It might not be the most obvious bit of advice, but staying up on all the security news about Android is extremely important. Nowadays, it seems there is a new story on Android security each day, and threats keep popping up at an alarming rate. Knowing about those threats and being prepared is extremely important.

4. Surf only to safe sites

According to a recent report from security researchers, one of the leading causes of malware infection in Android is surfing to adult content Websites. It is extremely important that users surf only to safe sites and eschew any of those that might seem a little less-secure. Not doing so would be a huge mistake.

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger is a longtime freelance contributor to several technology and business publications. Over his career, Don has written about everything from geek-friendly gadgetry to issues of privacy...