Strong Password and Security Rules for Android

One of the biggest concerns about owning any mobile device should be security. I’ve discussed the various needs for securing your device, but there are still a number of people who fail to fully secure their phones. I’m willing to bet that most bar associations would find that a phone breach would violate an attorney’s duty to protect personal information.

If you haven’t secured your Android device, it’s time to do it. In fact, there are several settings you must have if you’re going to stand any chance of protecting information.

Android’s pattern unlock is one of the coolest features for smartphone unlock. Unlike the slide-to-unlock default, pattern unlock gives you the ability to set a complex pattern for opening the device. To set pattern unlock: Menu > Settings > Location & security > Change screen lock

Photo: droidforums.net

However, while pattern unlock is essential, it also has its drawbacks. Namely, I hate having to constantly unlock my device in “safe” places like my home or office. To save some hassles, use the Unlock With WiFi app (free or paid ($3.00)). Check out the “how it works” video:

The next security fix is to disable USB debugging and use full data encryption. USB debugging allows you to connect a USB cable and “grab” files and folders on your Android device. Full data encryption ensures that someone cannot access your data if they bypass the unlock screen. To disable USB debugging: Menu > Settings > Applications > Development > USB debugging. To enable full data encryption: Menu > Settings > Location & security > Data encryption.

Finally, you should use genuine Android Market (or Amazon App Store for Android) apps and keep your device updated. While downloading only genuine apps from the Android Market cannot guarantee you won’t get any malware or viruses, there’s a higher probability that your device is safe. Similarly, keeping updated by downloading new device updates helps protect your phone. Be smart too and run anti-virus protection such as Lookout or AVG.

Take an opportunity to consider the importance of the information on your device. I hope you’ll also make some of these simple improvements to protect your Android device.

4 Responses to Strong Password and Security Rules for Android

  1. Also highly recommended is Seal, which provides a second layer of protection by allowing a second pattern unlock or password requirement for individual programs. Lite (Free) and Full ($2.78)in the Market.

    • John, fantastic suggestion! I should have mentioned this, as the Seal app is quickly becoming one of my favorites. I love being able to add the second layer to specific apps (e.g. Dropbox or Doc to Go), and at least have that warm, comfortable feeling of naive security.

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Jeff Taylor

I’m just an ordinary guy living an extraordinary life. I’m also an attorney and I blog about Android for lawyers. You can follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, or Google+.