According to statistics, more than 1 billion Android devices are running older versions of the Android operating system. This puts the devices and all data stored in them in harm’s way in the event of a cyber-security risk targeting older versions of the OS.
As the most popular operating system for mobile devices, it is vital for Android users to familiarize themselves with the cyber risks associated with using Android OS, especially outdated versions.
Risks faced by Android users
By March of 2021, the number of malware samples on the Android platform was more than 482,000/month. Trojans are the most common threats used on Android devices, with the numbers expected to increase as hackers expand their pool of victims.
Since Android is open-source software, it is easier for hackers to find vulnerabilities in the code and exploit them using malware programs.
SMS Phishing threats (Smishing)
In a 2017 SMS phishing scam, the victims were lured into applying for new credit cards.
In the text message, the victims were tricked into disclosing their personal details over the phone. This information was used to apply for credit cards that the scammers used for fraud.
A typical SMS phishing message is usually meant to cause panic. Most of them lie to the victim that their online accounts have an issue, requesting them to call a number for assistance. In addition, some scammers will promise cash rewards when you click on a link, redirecting you to a page where you enter your details.
While the Android app market has grown tremendously over the years, it faces one major threat: the availability of cloned apps for most legitimate applications.
Clone apps are an easy method used by hackers to gain access to Android devices. Once you download the app, you also download hidden malware programs that collect data without your knowledge.
How to Minimize Android Security Risks
Download a Virtual Private Network
Downloading and using a VPN for Android is the best way to guarantee your safety online. A VPN (Virtual Private Network) creates a virtual safety tunnel where all the data transfer and communication takes place. This protects you from online spying bots and hackers looking to exploit your online activity to gain access.
A VPN can also protect your device and data when on a public internet network. So you can use free open Wi-Fi for work and even transact online without risking losing your data or being hacked.
Always Update Your Software
Using an outdated Android operating system is the easier way to be placed on a hacker’s radar. Every time a new version or an update for an existing version is released, security patches for vulnerabilities are found in the older version. Hackers exploit these vulnerabilities to attack devices running older versions of the OS.
Apart from the OS, ensure you update your apps whenever a new update is available to ensure you are protected from all ends.
Download Apps from the Google Play Store
Android devices can download apps from the Google Play Store. These apps have been screened for security before they are made available, making them authentic and reliable. Getting your app from play stores ensures you only get legitimate apps for your device.
Regulate App Permissions
When downloading an app, pay attention to the permissions you grant and only give access to the basics rewired for the app to function. This is the best way to ensure the app collects minimal data about you as the user.
By following the tips in this article, you are ensured of a safe and secure Android experience.