Using an Android smartphone or tablet for investment purposes comes with a requirement that you secure your device and use good, common-sense practices to protect your investments, funds, and sensitive information.
It’s not enough to just use investment apps and assume the app itself offers enough protection to keep you and your data safe. Here are a few things you can and should do immediately if you’re using any type of banking or investment appon your Android device.
1. Keep Your Android OS Updated
Just by keeping your Android version up to date, you do a lot to secure your financial information and transactions when using your device. Periodically, your device will prompt you to update the operating system. More frequently, sometimes monthly, the OS will prompt you to go through with a security update.
The Android OS comes with a lot of security features baked directly into the operating system. When you update, you’re also updating those features, which is important.
The new malware, exploits, and dangerous hacks show up frequently. Updates patch vulnerabilities and problems to keep your device secure. You may think updating is a hassle, but it’s for your own protection and your own good.
2. Keep Your Apps Updated
Similarly to updating the OS, you should always update to the most current version of an app for many of the same reasons. Both OS and app updates tend to promise new features, but the real benefit of these updates comes with the security fixes.
Sometimes, an app will need to update because the OS updated. Don’t use old versions of applications unless absolutely necessary. For example, if an OS update breaks an app’s functionality, then you may want to very temporarily roll back to the previous version until a fix comes along.
3. Use Approved Apps on Your Android Device
You can install an app from anywhere and anyone on an Android device through sideloading. The OS will warn you when you attempt this or even block you from doing it altogether. However, Android does have a setting that allows you to install unapproved apps without a warning prompt.
Understand that practically no situation exists where a trustworthy banking or investment app will need you to install software that isn’t vetted and verified by Google’s official process. Nevertheless, some investors require tools that aren’t exactly available to everyone.
Sideloading isn’t inherently bad, just risky. If you trust the developer of an app or absolutely need a specific tool, then use it. Just also use your common sense and due diligence. Your Android phone will still scan the app for malware, which can offer some relief.
4. Replace Old Devices
The urge to hold on to a device that’s served you well for a while is usually a strong one. You probably don’t want to go through the hassle of reinstalling all your investment apps on a new device and setting everything up again.
The problem is, that older devices stop receiving support at some point. You may find you can’t update to the newest version of Android, or even some of your apps will start having issues or outright stop working altogether. Older devices also present a huge number of potential security issues.
5. Practice Good Cybersecurity Habits
The most common way to keep your investments and investment activity secure on your Android device is to practice good online habits. These are the same habits you should practice on any internet-connected device:
- Use strong passwords or a password manager
- Use multi-factor authentication
- Use biometric features
- Limit what you do over hotspots and public Wi-Fi
- Only send personal information over connections
- Never send personal information if you don’t have to
- Take advantage of all privacy and security settings your Android offers
- Take advantage of all privacy and security settings your apps offer
- Don’t give anyone else access to the device you use for investing
Good cybersecurity habits mitigate a lot of potential issues and threats. A lot of malware finds its way onto devices simply because people allow it in.
6. Use an Antivirus or Security Suite for Android
Modern antivirus software for Android devices tend to offer a lot more than just virus protection. Malware comes in a tremendous number of forms and can infiltrate your device in a lot of different ways. Antivirus protection for Android devices should work toward covering all the blind spots on your device.
For example, a full security suite will probably have tools to help aid you with all the previously mentioned good online habits and a whole lot more. For example, the security software can come with a built-in password manager, VPN for security and privacy, threat detection for non-common forms of malware, and a host of other security settings.
When making investment moves on your Android phone, you will want the added security. These tips will help you mitigate all potential threats so you can go about your investment activities with confidence.