Smartphones have become a part of everyday living. Smartphones are used for multiple purposes from work and business to entertainment and shopping. Google’s open source operating system – Android is considered to be the most preferred mobile OS in the smartphone industry. Android is reported to have a market share of about 50.9% in the final quarter of 2011, which amounts to the sales of approximately 75.9 million smartphones.

Android based devices offer technologically advanced capabilities for which it is well-liked by consumers. Android OS gives the developer community the flexibility to create and design their own innovative applications. Google makes many free applications available, which creates potential dangers for those who try and test all kinds of varied applications on their smartphones.

Since android is an open source OS, there are many android apps available for download in the market. This has raised serious risks of cyber crime and hacking.

Here are a few tips to keep your android based device safe and secure –

Smartphone’s Security Features: The most important way to keep the phone safe is to use the security features that are offered by the device. Users need to configure its location and security settings in order to keep the phone from falling into wrong hands. Keystroke pattern, password lock option, and fingerprint lock option are found in most android based devices. Making proper use of these features is necessary to prevent any kind of misuse.

Mobile Security Application: It is good to invest in an anti-virus application.

Mobile security apps protect the personal data, including all mobile transactions. It also effectively blocks access to malicious links and protects the smartphone from malware.

Wi-Fi Settings: It is necessary to avoid having an access to unsecured Wi-Fi connectivity. Using the internet from a free and open source may have many risks involved. Open wireless networks can pose a serious threat, as anyone on that same network can have easy access to all your confidential data in the android device. Therefore, it is important to keep the automatic wireless connection off.

Official App Store for Android Apps: It is advisable to download android applications from the official application store – Google Play, than any other source. Third- party app stores do provide a wide and attractive collection of android apps but it may pose a serious security threat. While downloading an application from unknown sources, you may unknowingly download malware into your android device.

Access to personal data: It is necessary to do a little research work before deciding to download and install an application. It has been found that malicious android apps usually ask for access to data that is stored within the smartphone. The user needs to be careful while allowing such access and cross check whether the app actually requires such data.

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