1. Use Google Play to find safe apps
We do a lot behind the scenes to review apps before they can be published on Google Play, so even before you install an app, Google uses a variety of methods to check that developers are complying with our policies. If an app violates those policies, it is blocked from Play and sometimes the developer is too. Apps that are considered to be potentially harmful are blocked and flagged for a manual review by members of the Android Security Team. To learn more about this review process and how Android continues to keep your device safe even after you download an app, read our recently published whitepaper.
The app review process before it can be added to Google Play
2. Set a screen lock and activate Android Device Manager
Anybody can lose their phone, so it’s important to set a screen lock so a stranger can’t access what’s on your device. And should you ever lose your device, you can remotely locate, lock, or even wipe it with Android Device Manager. This feature comes preinstalled on all Android devices with the Play store, so you just need to activate it.
3. Check that your device is encrypted
Encryption is important because it protects your data by storing it in an unreadable form, so if your device is lost or stolen your information remains protected. To ensure that your device is encrypted enter Settings, tap Security, and tap Encrypt phone (or Encrypt tablet) under Encryption. Newer Nexus devices, like the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P, are encrypted by default.
4. Manage app permissions
Each Android app is housed in a virtual sandbox. That means, unless you’ve given it additional permissions, the only data an app can use is the data that’s in it. For example, apps that you install aren’t able to access information like photos or your location unless you give them permission. On devices running Android 6.0 Marshmallow, you can control a given app’s permissions by entering Settings, tapping Apps and selecting an app from the list of installed apps surfaced. On the App info screen, you’ll see a Permissions category that lists all the permissions that app has access to. When you click on this you’ll be able to toggle on and off individual permissions.
To learn more about how Android keeps you safe, check out the Android Security website. Happy Safer Internet Day!
Posted by Eric Davis, Senior Program Manager, Android Security