How to Prevent Malware on Your Android Device

Malware seems to find a way to seep into almost any device. Computers, smartphones, and even smartwatches are all at risk, even if they’re just used as a door for malware to enter a different device on the same network.

There are some steps you can take, though, to prevent malware on your Android device. Keep reading to learn more.

Use a Secure Browser

One of the best ways to prevent malware, overall, is to use a mobile browser that blocks it. It’s rare for apps downloaded from official sources to onboard malware on your device. Browsing the web, however, is an entirely different story.

You should pick from our list of the best privacy-focused smartphone browsers. Some options include Brave, Firefox, and Onion. While these aren’t mainly oriented towards protecting against malware, their privacy policies and other configurations are conducive to a safer browsing experience.

Clear Your Browser Cookies

Clearing your mobile browser cookies might not sound like an essential step in preventing malware. However, there are many ways that cookies can put you at risk. It mostly depends on how you use your phone and what websites you visit, though.

Bad actors can collect information from your stored cookies and put your device at risk. To stay safe, you should clear your cookies from time to time. Check out our quick guide on how to clear cookies on Android browsers to find out how.

Keep Your Phone Updated

Most Android phones now stay updated automatically. However, you should double-check to be sure. Keeping your phone updated doesn’t just ensure you have the latest Android features. It also provides some critical security updates that help keep you safe.

You can check for updates on most Android devices by heading to Settings > System updates > Check for updates. If there are any available updates, your Android device will start downloading them and prepare them for installation. Once the update is ready, tap Install on the notification.

Is it safe to use a phone that no longer gets security updates? It might be for a while, but you need to be extra careful as any unpatched vulnerabilities in the operating system will leave you at risk.

Use Multiple Phone Accounts

If you’re keen on preventing malware on your Android device, you can create multiple user accounts on your Android phone.

You can keep your sensitive data and apps safer by accessing certain content on separate accounts. This is because the apps or features you use on separate accounts can’t directly access the information or data on your primary account.

To set up a guest or alternate user account on Android, head to Settings > System > Multiple users. Here, toggle Use multiple users on and tap Add user.

Only Install Apps From Official Sources

You’re much better off installing apps from official sources, like the Play Store or the Galaxy Store. Not only are these apps vetted and checked frequently, but if something goes wrong, you can pinpoint exactly where the problem came from.

You can also often hold an official source responsible, to some degree, which might offer an opportunity for finding a solution to any problems caused. There’s no guarantee that apps downloaded from unofficial app stores have not been tampered with in some way.

Avoid Cracked Apps and Games

Similarly, apps and games that are cracked or modded can put your Android device at significant risk. They can be tempting as a way of saving money, but they can often take advantage of certain permissions to gain access to your data or inject malware.

While some antivirus software can detect and notify you of malware, some modded apps can slip past detection.

There are plenty of great free alternatives to paid apps that you can use instead. Otherwise, it’s a good idea to steer clear of any apps that have been modified.

You might get a text message here and there with a link. You should think twice if it’s from a number you don’t recognize, but if it’s from a friend, you’re more likely to tap it. Before doing so, reply to your contact to ask if it’s safe.

Links in text messages can take you anywhere. They’re an opportunity for bad actors to inject malware, collect personal information, and more. If curiosity gets the best of you, though, there are websites you can use to check if a link is safe.

Don’t Get Infected With Malware on Android

Learning how to prevent malware on your Android device is essential, given how much important personal information lives on phones today. You can protect your bank, social media, and other information by taking steps to prevent malware.

It might not seem easy to keep your Android completely safe. But, if you look into how malware spreads, it’s easier to understand how to stop it.

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