3 Risks Facing Users

1. Malware

The Android ecosystem comes with a lot of good and a lot of bad. We can discuss the good in another article, but for now, let’s focus on the bad, starting with malware.

Android OS is much more vulnerable to malware than, say, iOS. This is because malware designed to target Windows also affects Android. For this reason, Android users must be wary of potential malware carriers.

2. Counterfeit Apps

A fake Google Play Store app was found last year. Fake apps are apps that look harmless but are designed to offload malware into the device. These are a major issue, and many fall for these apps.

3. Rootkits

Rootkits are special pieces of malware designed to inject malware into a device's registries, files, and vice versa to give unauthorized user access to the device.

Rootkits themselves aren’t inherently dangerous, however. Many video games, applications, and work software use rootkits—just something to keep in mind.

5 Ways Users Can Stay Safe

1. Install an Anti-Malware Program

While not as popular as their desktop counterparts, many anti-malware and anti-virus programs have app versions that people can load onto their phones. These anti-malware apps aren't as thorough or heavy on a system as a Windows version would be, but they are good enough.

They operate the same way, combing through files and registries in search of potential malware programs. They also run in the background, which is nice.

However, be sure you’re not downloading fake anti-malwar e programs.

2. Verify the Legitimacy of Apps

As we discussed earlier, malware disguised as apps is a major problem on the Google Play Store due to the leniency Android shows developers.

When you go to download something on your device, make sure it is known, trusted, and has been reviewed by real people (not bots).

3. Be Careful About Which Sites to Visit

Apple’s iOS is closed-source, meaning the common individual doesn’t have access to the foundations of the software. Android, however, is open-source.

Being open-source means that it’s easier for cybercriminals to create malware tailored towards that OS. For this reason, Android users should navigate their devices as they do on their computer: don't visit suspicious websites, don't download sketchy programs, don't click on random links, etc.

4. Download a VPN

A surprising amount of cyber-threats float around public networks due to their lack of encryption and a large number of targets available for cybercriminals. This means that when you connect to a public network, you are putting you and your device at risk.

Downloading a VPN for security, however, will hide your device on any network you connect to and make sure your device stays safe. If you use public networks often, definitely download a VPN.

5. Keep Devices Updated

New security threats appear every day, meaning developers must play catch-up and constantly push out updates containing various security fixes. However, keeping your Android devices updated will ensure they’re protected from the latest threats.