A Smartphone has more features than an ordinary mobile phone, and often serves as a media player, digital camera and navigation unit. This additional functionality requires a mobile operating system such as Android, which is made by Google. Android Smartphones have specific areas of vulnerability, such as their navigation capability, downloaded software, physical access, stored data and software updates.
A global positioning system on an Android Smartphone represents a significant security vulnerability. This location service creates a profile of your physical movements, which is useful for applications such as Check-in and Foursquare. However, a GPS also allows hackers to know when you are not at home. Smartphone users should disable their antenna when not using a WiFi network so hackers will have more difficulty locating them. A disabled antenna will also save power since the Smartphone will no longer be constantly looking for a WiFi network. Users should also exercise caution when accessing a public WiFi network and using applications that require GPS.
Downloaded software can add functionality to your Android Smartphone, but they can also make it more vulnerable to hacking. Software requires a certain degree of access to your phone, allowing malicious software to make your Smartphone run more slowly, transmit personal data to a hacker or delete essential files. Use caution when downloading applications for your phone by reviewing user comments about that application.
An Android Smartphone presents a physical vulnerability, since it can easily be lost or stolen. The Android OS provides the user with a locking functionality, although users rarely use it. A Smartphone with locking enabled requires the user to enter a password before it can be used. The password is typically a relatively short string of characters that is easy to remember, yet difficult for a thief to guess. Locking represents the first line of defense for a Smartphone security.
The data on your Android Smartphone may eventually be accessed by a thief, even when you enable locking. The Android OS allows you to delete the information on your phone remotely from another computer. This capability generally requires you to access your the Remote Wipe settings, allowing you to wipe the Smartphone. You can accomplish this with several specific methods such as a third-party application. Your email account may also provide you with remote wiping, as can a service provided at the corporate level.
The Android OS requires regular updates, as do all operating systems. Your Smartphone will notify you when you need to install an update, which usually occurs at regular intervals. This requires you to connect your phone to the Internet, so you can download and install the update. It’s important to install operating system updates, since they often include upgrades that eliminate specific security vulnerabilities in your operating system.
Android phones have many capabilities, which also introduce a variety of vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities have relatively easy solutions, although many users don’t implement them. A few simple precautions can greatly increase a Smartphone’s security.