The 9 essential rules for securing an Android smartphone

Smartphone and tablet users are constantly implored to secure their devices with PINs and other security settings but most rarely venture beyond a simple screen lock. This isn’t enough for reasons that will become clear. If a thief gets hold of a lost or stolen device or tablet there are numerous ways of re-using the handset, accessing any data it contains and even hijacking the account to make expensive calls.

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Smartphone and tablet users are constantly implored to secure their devices with PINs and other security settings but most rarely venture beyond a simple screen lock. This isn’t enough for reasons that will become clear.  If a thief gets hold of a lost or stolen device or tablet there are numerous ways of re-using the handset, accessing any data it contains and even hijacking the account to make expensive calls.

The problem is that on Android it turns out there’s a lot more to device security than first meets the eye and this tends to put people off.  One way is to break it down into seven layers of protection, each with its own settings.  These are:

-          Protecting the smartphone physically  using via a screen PIN or password

-          Protecting the user’s account held on the SIM

-          Protecting the data on the device and SD card using encryption

-          Backing up the data (insurance when using certain security features)

-          Remotely locating, locking or wiping the handset should it be lost

-          Securely erasing data on the device at the end of its life

-          Defending the applications using a security app

It’s a lot to remember. Typically, people put a PN on their phone, leaving the SIM unprotected and data in the clear. More and more people download security apps but plenty don’t. Remote wiping can be clunky. A final issue is that Android is fragmented by version and device maker so accessing some of these options might be slightly different for each smartphone brand. The following is the most important hitlist.

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