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Starting with Android 8.0 (Oreo), Google baked in a feature named Play Protect. And it’ll stay that way until the next time you re-lock your phone. If you came here to learn how to turn your Android phone into a vault, here’s what you need to do. And don’t forget to add your fingerprint if your phone has a scanner, too—here are a few tips to make it as accurate as possible. This means that all the sensitive data on your phone is stored in an unreadable, scrambled state upon boot and isn’t decrypted until you enter your password, PIN, or passcode. With a little work, your Galaxy, Pixel, or OnePlus phone can be a veritable fortress, virtually impenetrable to hacks, attacks, and bad apps. The best way to yell at him is on Twitter. Google offers a handy tool to track a lost or stolen phone right in the Play Store. (If you don’t, you can enable it in the Lock screen settings.) If you find any that are, tap the name and turn the toggle off. Hold down the power button for a second and you’ll see a Lockdown option at the bottom of the list. And if you bought your Android phone within the past two years, there’s a good chance it has a fingerprint sensor either below the screen, on the back, or built into the power button. Check out PCWorld's guide to the best password managers for everything you need to know. That obviously could be a problem if someone swipes your phone. Staff Writer, This is an always-on, always-scanning cloud-based security system that keeps an eye on apps in the Play Store and on your device. If you’re turning off Smart Lock, the only way to keep your passwords safe and organized is to lock them up inside a password manager. We have a closer look at everything you can do with Find My Phone if you’re interested in that, too. So it’s basically impossible to get into any of your accounts without the key, even if someone manages to steal all of your passwords. If you’ve tinkered with your phone in the past, you might have enabled something called “Unknown Sources” (or “Install Unknown Apps” on newer versions of Android). Now that the basic stuff is out of the way, let’s work on putting an even stronger lock on your Android phone. It’ll free up storage and it’ll make sure they don’t turn into potential risks. As I said, the details might vary slightly here, but that will get you in the ballpark. How-To Geek is where you turn when you want experts to explain technology. Since we launched in 2006, our articles have been read more than 1 billion times. All Rights Reserved. You’ll see two toggles: Offer to save passwords and Auto sign-in. Use a Secure Lock Screen. But even if you choose a string of letter and numbers, you should set a reminder to change once every six months or so. Once you get there, tap on Security, then scroll down to Signing in to other sites, and tapped Saved Passwords. Also, while you’re poking around in your Google account settings, it’s probably a good idea to go ahead and run a security check. Depending on your phone, the mechanism is a little different. Turn on 2-step verification. This is your absolute first line of defense when it comes to keeping your phone safe. This lets you add or modify recovery phone numbers or email addresses, check recent security events, see what other devices are logged in (and remove them if necessary), and a lot more. Smart Lock for Passwords might be convenient, but if you want to lock down your phone, you’re going to need to handle your passwords on your own. It’s a good habit to visit this setting every once in while to make sure there aren’t any malicious apps that are allowed to install software behind the scenes. First and foremost, it runs a safety check on apps before you download them, but more importantly, it also checks your phone for any apps that may have gone awry since you downloaded them. In Android 7 Nougat, that switched to file-based encryption, but the end result is essentially the same: The data on your phone is protected by 256-bit AES standard encryption as soon as its locked, so unless someone knows your passcode, they can’t see anything. A secure Android phone starts with a secure Google account, because that’s where all your synced data is stored—and the more Google services you use, the more crucial this step is. Here’s how to keep your Android phone secure. If you’re not using a secure lock screen, it’s time to change that. This setting allows you to install apps that are not from the Google Play Store—a process called “sideloading.” And while Oreo made strides to make this a more secure feature, it can still be inherently dangerous to leave enabled. But if you want to take it one step further, you can use an authenticator app to generate unique codes right on your phone rather than sending them over SMS text messages, which can be riskier. We also have a more detailed guide available should you need that. A pattern (made on a 9-dot square) is easiest to remember but the least secure. You can make sure it’s turned on (and it should be), as well as enable app scanning for side-loaded applications. Cameron Summerson is the Editor in Chief of. Losing your phone is a gut-wrenching feeling, so you also want to make sure you have a way to track it and, worse case scenario, remotely reset your phone if there’s no chance of getting it back. You’ll find the toggle inside the security settings for your Google account, not inside the Security tab in Settings. How to Make Android as Secure as Possible, the least secure of all 2FA methods, but still better than nothing, here are a few tips to make it as accurate as possible, a closer look at everything you can do with Find My Phone, always-on, always-scanning cloud-based security system, How to Change the Theme and Accent Color of Instagram DMs, How to Record Shows and Movies on YouTube TV, How to Get Cycling Navigation Directions in Apple Maps. We also have a step-by-step guide on enabling the feature if you hit any snags. Stronger and more secure than the Smart Lock password sync Google offers, a password manager encourages unique, complex passwords, lets you organize and manage multiple logins, and stores sensitive notes, credit card information, and anything else you want to keep in a digital locker. You’ll need to pay an annual fee, but it’s worth it. Tap it and your phone will instantly lock, turn off the fingerprint scanner (so someone can’t force your finger to unlock it), remove all notifications from the lock screen, and disable Smart Lock. What Does “ITT” Mean, and How Do You Use It? To see Play Protect’s settings, head to Settings > Google > Security > Play Protect. No matter what you use your phone to do, your Google account is … A password might be a strong way to secure your phone, but it can’t beat your fingerprint. Note: When you purchase something after clicking links in our articles, we may earn a small commission. There are numerous VPNs in the Play Store, so make sure you check out the rankings and user reviews before making your pick. Most of us live on our phones, with financial information, calendar appointments, family photos, and more stored on our devices. The $50 Titan Security KeyRemove non-product link bundle (which includes USB and Bluetoothsecurity keys) is a great option from Google, but there are also less-expensive options from YubicoRemove non-product link. How to Create and Manage To-Dos in WhatsApp Using Any.Do, © 2020 LifeSavvy Media. Because the information you send can be stolen and spied on with little effort, especially if you’re using a public Wi-Fi hotspot. You’ll also be able to remotely lock your device, display a message or phone number for whomever finds it, or completely erase all of the content on your phone. Google has built a malware scanner right into the Play Store called Play Protect. While this won’t necessarily protect your phone against theft, it will protect what’s on it. If you ever lose your phone or it gets stolen, you can fire up the closest web browser and search Google for “Find My Phone” and remotely locate your lost device. Simply jump into your app drawer and simply uninstall apps that you haven’t used in a while. Note: On Android Pie (9.0), you can find Developer Options at Settings > System > Developer Options. PCWorld |. Here’s how it works. If you use a VPN service, your information is encrypted before it hits the airwaves, so your data is fully protected from everybody except the VPN provider and whatever website you're visiting. It only takes a few seconds to enact a very important layer of protection. Set or schedule an update to be installed as soon as your phone lets you know it’s available. There are several options for that second factor, be it a simple text message (which is inherently the least secure of all 2FA methods, but still better than nothing) to adding a U2F key like Google’s Titan Key bundle. If you haven’t already, start by enabling two-factor authentication (2FA) on your Google account. If you don’t want to turn the whole thing off, you can also select sites that ignore auto sign-in. Jump into Settings > Developer Option and slide the toggle at the top to the off position. And with Android Oreo, you’ll even be able to incorporate some of them into Autofill on your phone (fingerprint-protected, of course). This is … Or at least they can be. You don’t need to check for them—once one is available, your phone will automatically let you know. Called Find My Device, it lets you track, lock, and erase your handset from wherever you are with just a tap. And that unfortunately means turning off Smart Lock for Passwords. Since your password mananger is a separate service, you’ll be able to access your passwords on any device or browser, so even if someone steals your phone your most personal data will still be protected. When you install an app from outside Google’s store, you’re losing out on Play Protect and opening your phone up to possible malware. To double check, jump into Settings > Google > Security > Find My Phone. But seriously, do that now if you haven’t already. Why? You can find Google’s 2FA settings in My Account > 2-Step Verification (and you’ll have to sign in, of course). You can usually find him with his nose buried in a screen. Just in case you want to more secure your Android Phone then you may follow these steps as well: Enable Password Protection. For example, if someone tries to remotely log in to your Google account from another device, you’ll know via the 2-step message on your phone. Join 350,000 subscribers and get a daily digest of news, comics, trivia, reviews, and more. And make sure it’s not the same as the one that protects your primary Google account. Even if you skip the entire set-up process and ignore every safeguard prompt, your Android phone still does plenty to keep your information safe. Our favorite password manager is LastPass, but there are plenty of great options out there. These days, Android is encrypted by default on all modern devices, and you can’t turn it off. Ever since Android 5 Lollipop, Android has offered full-device encryption by default, as long as you set some kind of an locking method on your phone (pattern, pin, or password). Signing in to other sites, and more enabling the feature if you find any that,... You Use your phone against theft, it ’ ll free up storage and could. At Settings > security > unknown sources contain affiliate links, which is free and super simple simply uninstall that. Covers all things mobile for PCWorld and Macworld see Play Protect for second... Numerous phones also offer face unlocking, but they ’ re actually quite secure unknown sources advice you need.!, reviews, and how do you Use your phone, the mechanism is a big deal, now. Free up storage and it ’ s time to change that from unknown sources install apps from unknown sources,. Apps in the Play Store called Play Protect with Android 8.0 ( Oreo ), has! 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