Contributed by George Mack, Content Marketing Manager, Check Point Software.

The Android operation system has been around for over a decade and has come a long way since then. New features, a wide variety of apps, upgraded camera phones, and an aesthetically pleasing user interface have led to a gigantic install base: A whopping 2.8 billion monthly active devices.

As a result, Google’s mobile OS has captured a significant portion of the global market share, and that’s not going to change anytime soon. Unfortunately, Android devices are one of the largest cyber attack vectors. And even if you take all the usual precautions, such as updating your software and using strong passwords, you can still be at risk.

One of the prime attractions for Android users is having more flexibility, especially when it comes to apps. App developers possess the chance to test ideas in a less-regulated marketplace. However, a lack of regulations leads to vulnerabilities that are often abused by threat actors. And while Google does crack down on malicious applications, there will always be a few bad apples that slip through because of the sheer number of applications that are published every day.

Furthermore, Android vulnerabilities can be devastating. For example, Check Point Research (CPR) discovered a vulnerability in Qualcomm’s modems that could have put 40% of all smartphones at risk. CPR has also discovered various Android banking trojans, which are particularly nefarious, as you can wake up one day and find that your entire bank account balance has been drained.

With these dangers in mind, how can Android users implement cyber security best practices to keep their data secure?

The best way to secure your Android

If you want to keep your smartphone and your data secure, then there’s one strategy you need to follow: Only use essential and trusted applications.

Time and time again, we’ve seen malicious applications make it onto Google’s Play Store. Hackers lace their malware into commonly used apps such as calculators, antivirus software, and flashlights.

For you, consider using basic apps such as:

  • Google Docs
  • Camera
  • Phone
  • Messages
  • Google Drive
  • Gmail
  • Chrome

Don’t install more apps than you need. It’s a simple numbers game. The more apps that you have on your phone, the greater the number of potential attack vectors that you provide to hackers.

You’ll want to make a list of the current applications on your phone and remove the ones that you don’t really need.

If you need to install an app, then consider doing the following moving forward:

  • Only install applications from trusted and verified publishers
  • Check if there is an equivalent application from a trusted publisher if you find an application from a new publisher
  • Report any suspicious applications or activities to Google

Mobile security protections

If you’re responsible for the security of your business or organization, then you need a mobile security solution.

Check Point’s Harmony Mobile prevents malware from infiltrating mobile devices by detecting and blocking the download of malicious apps in real-time. Harmony Mobile’s unique network security infrastructure – on-device network protection – allows you to stay ahead of emerging threats by extending Check Point’s industry-leading network security technologies to mobile devices.

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