Privacy applications for Android devices
You can find Android OS everywhere – from phones to tablets, smart cars and TVs, and even wristwatches and PCs. As an open-source operating system, Android is part of a proprietary suite of software that belongs to Google and comes pre-installed on certain devices. With over 2 billion active users, this OS has, without a doubt, the largest installed base of any operating system.
Despite its popularity, you can compromise much of your personal data when using an Android device, either due to a lack of appropriate firewalls or due to certain bugs and weaknesses that persist in the programming.
One of the more common ways to safeguard your private information while using an Android device is encryption. Security neophytes and business organizations have already made sure that their Android phones encrypt all data that goes through them.
Furthermore, companies require employees to use a VPN for Android in order to guarantee the privacy of their proprietary information while browsing the web. Below you’ll find a list of the most important tips, as well as the most effective applications that can bolster the protection of your Android system.
Secure access to your phone
First, you have to make sure that no application or person can easily access the contents of your Android device. For phones, a pattern, PIN, or fingerprint screen lock is a must-have. Notifications that appear on your locked screen, on the other hand, are an easy way to disclose some of your confidential conversations to on-lookers. These features can be enabled/disabled in the Settings menu of your device under the tabs Screen Lock or Security, and Notifications, respectively.
The second most common source of security breaches on Android devices has to do with application permissions. There is no doubt about the fact that most of the software installed on Android devices is used to collect user data – anything from personal information to behavior, and much more. You can restrict the permissions of each application under Settings – Apps – Application Permissions. Programs don’t normally need access to things such as messages, microphone, camera, and location unless they are specifically related to these functions.
Google is known to track both your online activity and your real-life movement through extensive logs and location services. Still in Settings, under the Google tab, you should find the option to Opt out of Ads Personalization. The same goes for back-ups that are automatically handled by Google, which you can disable under the Back-up tab from Back-up and reset in Settings. Turning these off will no longer enable Google to generate an ad profile based on your behavior. If you find that back-ups are something you really need, there are independent applications, such as Autosync, Easier Backup, Migrate, and Resilio Sync, that can help you without giving away your private information.
Moreover, your data may be collected through the stock browsers that are installed on Android devices. Switching to another browser, such as Firefox, Frost Incognito, or browse as well as a search engine that does not track your searches, such as DuckDuckGo, will go a long way towards the privacy of your information.
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Secure applications for Android privacy
Newer devices and smartphones, in particular, give you the possibility to encrypt the information that is stored on them. The option is usually found in Security, under Settings. If you find that your stock gadget does not come with this option, there are popular apps such as Crypt4All Lite that can help you achieve similar results. Encryption might protect your files in the event they are leaked. With Crypt4All, for instance, everything you have on your phone can be encrypted before you upload it into a cloud service for safe keeping.
Applications like RedPhone make it possible for you to encrypt your private calls so that nobody can eavesdrop on you, while TextSecure or Signal Private Messenger will encode your text messages. The problem is that some apps cannot be installed if you do not grant them the permissions they ask for. If you want to still be able to use these and, at the same time, keep them away from accessing other aspects of your phone, security software like App Ops or Bouncer allow you to do so after the installation is complete.
The third line of defense you can employ to protect your confidentiality when using an Android device is to closely monitor which of your applications are using data and how often they do so. Although some telecommunications companies offer pre-installed suites that can do this, they tend to be rare outside of the U.S. As such, you can download an open source kit that is independently developed, such as Data Usage App, GlassWire, or Opera Max.
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Lastly, using a VPN on your Android device will ensure that no Internet traffic leaves your phone unencrypted. This means that, regardless of the application or feature that is handling the request, whatever is sent online will remain confidential as long as you have your VPN turned on. Some of these services provide you with an in-built secure browser, as well as data monitoring options, both of which can spare you the installation of additional software.