Android devices are used by 1.4 billion people across the globe, according to Google. Considering Androids are continuing to rise in popularity, industry leaders are saying viruses and malware threats also are on the rise.
Viruses and malware can leave Android users vulnerable to identity theft, fraud, and other attacks that can compromise their overall personal safety and well-being.
However, by taking the right precautions, you can avoid viruses and continue using your device without having to worry about malicious threats. Check out these five easy ways to avoid viruses on your Android.
1. Update Your Firmware
When new software and firmware updates become available, Google or your Android’s manufacturer will automatically send them directly to your device in the form of over-the-air (OTA) updates. In most cases, these updates contain patches and fixes that resolve bugs and protect your Android from malicious third parties.
Accept these updates when they become available, or check settings to make sure you’re up to date. Navigate to Settings > About > Software Update, then follow the on-screen instructions to update your Android.
2. Uncheck the “Unknown Sources” Option
By default, most Androids only allow you to install apps from Google Play Store, which is Android’s dedicated app store. In the event you try installing apps from other sources, you’ll receive pop-ups checking for confirmation.
To make sure your Android is set up to only install apps from Google Play Store, navigate to Settings > Security > Unknown Sources, then remove the checkmark next to “Unknown sources.”
3. Use Reputable App Stores
When you want apps that aren’t available from Google Play Store, only download apps from well-known sources with positive reputations, such as Amazon Appstore. When in doubt, spend a few moments researching an app store to determine whether it’s legitimate and safe to use.
Avoid downloading apps from unfamiliar websites and personal blogs, since these apps may be viruses and malware in disguise.
4. Review App Permissions
At the time you install an app, the app provides a list of permissions informing you what it needs access to on your Android. For example, most social media apps need access to your camera and contacts so you can take and share photos, and find and add friends.
Steer clear of apps that require access to features they don’t really need. For example, don’t install a dream dictionary app that needs access to your contacts, location, email, and text messages — since these features aren’t necessarily required to look up the meanings of your dreams.
5. Use an Antivirus App
While Androids do have strong built-in security features, it doesn’t hurt to install an antivirus app, especially if you browse the Web extensively and regularly install apps from outside Google Play Store.
Before installing an antivirus app, look at its star rating and user reviews to narrow your options. Stick to downloading a popular, well-known security app, and make sure it’s set up to run in the background at all times to lower your risk for viruses and malware.
Keeping your Android free of viruses is an ideal way to protect your personal information, and ensures your device runs smoothly and efficiently at all times.
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