Smartphones are personal gadgets – more so today than they’ve been at any other time in the past. They contain loads of your private data, including your names, addresses, browsing habits and sometimes even credit card information. Despite being the world’s leading mobile platform, Android still suffers from tons of malicious attacks. The inbuilt features that Google planted into the OS ecosystem provide a measure of security, but you need to leverage a proactive approach to keeping your handset safe.

Choose your Manufacturer Wisely

Google makes it a point to provide constant updates and security patches. Unfortunately, though, such patches and security updates (especially those that affect both hardware and software) are only available in Google Nexus smartphones and a number of Samsung handsets. Before you purchase your smartphone, it’s important to look whether the specific manufacturer actually goes through the trouble of instituting Google updates. Don’t just look at the specs, have it in mind that security is also a key concern.

Built-in encryption

Google started rolling out device encryption in the very early versions of Android, but this technology has greatly improved over the years. Unlike iPhones, which ship with inbuilt encryption, most Android users actually have to enable it before they can actually use it. The idea behind this is to make your files, photos, videos messages, documents, etc. unreadable to anyone else except the legitimate user. To enable encryption on your handset, navigate to settings>security>encrypt phone. Make sure that you have backed up your data, and connected your already charged phone to a power outlet. This makes sure that the process rolls out smooth with no hitches, interruptions or data loss.

Passwords plus fingerprint security

Android smartphones come with a screen lock that’s super easy to set up. Alternatively, you can use a 4-digit pin or an 8-chaacter password to keep the data on your device safe. But there are so many people who disable this security since they don’t want to go through the hectic process of unlocking their device every time they need to check something. If you keep critical information on your smartphone or are serious about securing it, consider purchasing a device with fingerprint sensors and combine this with a strong password. Nowadays, fingerprint-sensor-equipped devices have become very cheap.

Avoid suspicious app stores

One of the most rookie security mistakes that Android users make is download apps from little-known, suspicious app stores. There are dozens of android app stores out there, and it’s easy to get lured to download apps from any one of them. But to make sure that you only get apps that have been checked and verified, you’re better off sticking to Google Play Store. After all, there are more than two million different apps on this marketplace. It’s not like you’re going to miss anything.

Install antivirus software

There’s no secure Android smartphone without an antivirus program installed. Such software scans your device to find any suspicious or malicious files, code, etc. More so, a section of the antivirus apps available in the market right now take a proactive approach, providing warnings any time you do something that might jeopardize the security of your device. Avast, AVG, and Lookout are just a few of the many security apps available for free on Google Play Store.Don’t wait until your device gets broken into before you can institute rather simple security measures. Start with the list above and you’ll hardly complain about any breach on your handset.Image Source: Encap Security

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What's my model number?

There are several ways to locate your model number:

Option 1
On your device, go to Settings, then "About device" and scroll down to "Model number"
Option 2
Often times you can view the model number inside the device, by removing the battery
Option 3
Using Samsung's model/serial number location tool

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