Secure, protect, & lock down your Android phone

phones might get a bad rap, but they’re actually quite secure. Or at least they can be.

With a little work, your Galaxy, Pixel, or OnePlus can be a veritable fortress, virtually impenetrable to hacks, attacks, and bad apps. So whether you’re looking for a little extra security or a complete lockdown of your , here’s everything you need to keep your data from falling into the wrong hands.

Android security: Default protection

Even if you skip the entire set-up process and ignore every safeguard prompt, your Android phone still does plenty to keep your information safe.

Play

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Google has built a malware scanner right into the Play Store called Play Protect. First and foremost, it runs a safety check on apps before you download them, but more importantly, it also checks your phone for any apps that may have gone awry since you downloaded them. If it finds any, it will warn you via a notification and in extreme cases delete them from your device on its own. You can check your Google Play Protect settings and see the apps it scanned in the Updates tab inside the My apps & games section of the Play Store.

Encryption

Ever since Android 5 Lollipop, Android has offered full-device encryption by default, as long as you set some kind of an locking method on your phone (pattern, pin, or password). In Android 7 Nougat, that switched to file-based encryption, but the end result is essentially the same: The data on your phone is protected by 256-bit AES standard encryption as soon as its locked, so unless someone knows your passcode, they can’t see anything.

Android security: Basic protection

You don’t need to be a paranoid android to put a basic layer of protection on your device, you only need to change a few settings.

Set a password

While newer Android phones offer numerous biometric methods for unlocking, every phone still requires one of three traditional locking methods: pattern, PIN, or password. They’re not created equal, though. A pattern (made on a 9-dot square) is easiest to remember but the least secure. A 6-digit pin is far better, but the best of all is a random password. But even if you choose a string of letter and numbers, you should set a reminder to change once every six months or so. And make sure it’s not the same as the one that protects your primary Google account.

Turn on 2-step verification

No matter what you use your phone to do, your Google account is central to everything that happens. As the name suggests, with 2-step verification, you’re adding an extra layer of protection, so even if someone steals your password they still won’t be able to get into your account. Here’s how it works. After you’re prompted to enter your Google password, a code will be sent to your default phone via text or call which will need to be entered in order to grant access your account.

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