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Join 350,000 subscribers and get a daily digest of news, geek trivia, and our feature articles. This lets you add or modify recovery phone numbers or email addresses, check recent security events, see what other devices are logged in (and remove them if necessary), and a lot more. If you use a VPN service, your information is encrypted before it hits the airwaves, so your data is fully protected from everybody except the VPN provider and whatever website you're visiting. We’ve already discussed how important 2-step verification is for your Google account, but you should also be using it for any service that offers it: Twitter, Facebook, Dropbox, etc. Our favorite password manager is LastPass, but there are plenty of great options out there. 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. You’ll find the toggle inside the security settings for your Google account, not inside the Security tab in Settings. These days, Android is encrypted by default on all modern devices, and you can’t turn it off. And make sure it’s not the same as the one that protects your primary Google account. You don’t need to check for them—once one is available, your phone will automatically let you know. Cameron Summerson is the Editor in Chief of. Join 350,000 subscribers and get a daily digest of news, comics, trivia, reviews, and more. But don’t delay, because it’s easy to forget about them. If you want the ultimate protection for your accounts, nothing beats an NFC security key. How-To Geek is where you turn when you want experts to explain technology. 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. While this won’t necessarily protect your phone against theft, it will protect what’s on it. 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. Keeping your phone secure isn’t difficult—take a few minutes to check and enable a few settings, and you’ll always have the peace of mind that your phone is as secure as it can be should it ever get lost or stolen. Here’s why: Google’s method doesn’t use any kind of authentication on a per-site or account basis like password managers do, so after signing in to your account for the first time on your device, all of your passwords will be available. Set or schedule an update to be installed as soon as your phone lets you know it’s available. After downloading, you can sign in using your Google account and allow it to access your your device’s location. Up until Android Nougat, there was a single toggle that let you either block or install apps from unknown sources. You can make sure it’s turned on (and it should be), as well as enable app scanning for side-loaded applications. If you find any that are, tap the name and turn the toggle off. Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc. 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). No matter what you use your phone to do, your Google account is … And that unfortunately means turning off Smart Lock for Passwords. This is your absolute first line of defense when it comes to keeping your phone safe. As I said, the details might vary slightly here, but that will get you in the ballpark. You can usually find him with his nose buried in a screen. Numerous phones also offer face unlocking, but unless you have a Huawei Mate 20, you should skip these. If you’ve tinkered with your phone in the past, you might have enabled something called “Unknown Sources” (or “Install Unknown Apps” on newer versions of Android). If you came here to learn how to turn your Android phone into a vault, here’s what you need to do. There are several options for that second factor, be it a simple text message (which is inherently the least secure of all 2FA methods, but still better than nothing) to adding a U2F key like Google’s Titan Key bundle. When you install an app from outside Google’s store, you’re losing out on Play Protect and opening your phone up to possible malware. It aims to keep malicious apps at bay—including fake apps—and can even scan apps that you sideload. It only takes a few seconds to enact a very important layer of protection. A password might be a strong way to secure your phone, but it can’t beat your fingerprint. In the Special app access settings, you’ll find an Unknown sources or Unknown apps tab, which lets you shut off the installation of apps from a non-Play Store source, such as Chrome or some other browser. For example, if someone tries to remotely log in to your Google account from another device, you’ll know via the 2-step message on your phone. Note: When you purchase something after clicking links in our articles, we may earn a small commission. Just in case you want to more secure your Android Phone then you may follow these steps as well: Enable Password Protection. You’ll also be able to remotely lock your device, display a message or phone number for whomever finds it, or completely erase all of the content on your phone. We also have a more detailed guide available should you need that. To keep a lid on any potential trouble, Google has built a way to shut off any accidental or unintentional downloads. We think a much better solution would be to require biometric authentication every time a password is entered (which Apple does on the iPhone), so until that happens, you should switch it off if you’re paranoid. The $50 Titan Security KeyRemove non-product link bundle (which includes USB and Bluetoothsecurity keys) is a great option from Google, but there are also less-expensive options from YubicoRemove non-product link. Google added it later, though you had to enable it manually, and that was a hassle. Simply jump into your app drawer and simply uninstall apps that you haven’t used in a while. How to Create and Manage To-Dos in WhatsApp Using Any.Do, © 2020 LifeSavvy Media. Hold down the power button for a second and you’ll see a Lockdown option at the bottom of the list. Fortunately, Google has a tracking system in place for Android phones. Google offers a handy tool to track a lost or stolen phone right in the Play Store. Note: On Android Pie (9.0), you can find Developer Options at Settings > System > Developer Options. While newer Android phones offer numerous biometric methods for unlocking, every phone still requires one of three traditional locking methods: pattern, PIN, or 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. Turn on 2-step verification. PCWorld |. But seriously, do that now if you haven’t already. And with Android Oreo, you’ll even be able to incorporate some of them into Autofill on your phone (fingerprint-protected, of course). Roughly the size of a flash driven (so you can attach it to a keychain) and completely phishing-proof, a security key dispenses with codes and stores all of your authentication on a physical device. PCWorld helps you navigate the PC ecosystem to find the products you want and the advice you need to get the job done. So whether you’re looking for a little extra security or a complete lockdown of your phone, here’s everything you need to keep your data from falling into the wrong hands. (If you don’t, you can enable it in the Lock screen settings.) If you’re looking for something more advanced, you can download OpenVPN for Android and experiment with Mullvad, the top PC pick in our roundup of the best VPN services. If all else fails, Google has added a new Lockdown option to Android 9 that lets you completely secure your phone at a tap. Tap it and your phone will instantly lock, turn off the fingerprint scanner (so someone can’t force your finger to unlock it), remove all notifications from the lock screen, and disable Smart Lock. How to Make Android as Secure as Possible, the least secure of all 2FA methods, but still better than nothing, here are a few tips to make it as accurate as possible, a closer look at everything you can do with Find My Phone, always-on, always-scanning cloud-based security system, How to Change the Theme and Accent Color of Instagram DMs, How to Record Shows and Movies on YouTube TV, How to Get Cycling Navigation Directions in Apple Maps. Losing your phone is a gut-wrenching feeling, so you also want to make sure you have a way to track it and, worse case scenario, remotely reset your phone if there’s no chance of getting it back. This is … But if you want to take it one step further, you can use an authenticator app to generate unique codes right on your phone rather than sending them over SMS text messages, which can be riskier. Or at least they can be. To see Play Protect’s settings, head to Settings > Google > Security > Play Protect. On Oreo (8.0) and Pie (9.0) you’ll need to disable this feature on a per-app basis, but you can find everything that has access to the feature in Settings > Apps > Special Access > Install Unknown Apps. Speaking of wayward apps, one of the best ways to keep your system safe is good, old-fashioned house cleaning.
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