Smartphones and tablets are increasingly targeted by the cyber criminals nowadays as more and more people use them for online shopping and storing their sensitive data.
Two most prevalent threats for mobile devices today are Meltdown and Spectre exploits. These are two fairly critical CPU security flaws that allow the hackers to steal the data currently being processed by a processor. This data might include your personal photos, passwords stored in your browser and email etc.
Here are a few things by doing which you can keep your Android phone safe from these vulnerabilities.
Update Your Software:
Android updates not only bring new features and functionalities but also contain security bug fixes.
In case you are not able to update your device due to any reason, you can try a community-built open source version of Android. However, for that, your should have an unlocked bootloader in your device.
Community-based versions are beta-type meant to test out new features and detect bugs ahead of official release.
We’ll recommend loading a community built on their phone to only those who have some basic computer knowledge.
To see what community built is available for your device, go to XDA developers’ forums. Here you’ll find a number phones including Samsung, LG, Oneplus, Google and other manufacturers. Probability is high that you’ll find a version that is patched against Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities.
Download Apps only from Google Play Store:
To keep your phone malware-free, always avoid downloading apps from outside Google Play Store. 99 percent apps on this platform are safe to use, but you should check user reviews before installing an app built by an unknown developer.
Check app permissions:
If your phone is running a version lower than Android Marshmallow 6.0, make sure to check the required permissions before installing an app. Usually, apps gets access to your contacts, media files, and other information for a good reason but if you believe that an app is unnecessarily asking for a particular permission, satisfy yourself before pressing Allow.
The apps written for the devices running Marshmallow or newer do not ask you to grant permissions at the time of installation. Instead, they ask you for permission when they need it and you can either allow or deny it.
Use a Secure Web Browser
Unfortunately, many people ignore browser security while taking measures to protect their phones from malware threats. You interact to the internet mainly through browsers and use them to visit websites, pay your bills and buy online.
A malicious hacker can embed the hardware exploits used for Meltdown and Spectre to a script you run through your browser and steal information about you. Only an up-to-date browser with strong privacy settings can protect you against these bugs.
There are a number of web browsers available for Android devices today, but we’ll recommend you Chrome and Firefox, which not only give you a secure browsing experience but are feature-rich as well.