How to: Encrypt Your Android Device

Attorneys know that we should be using sophisticated methods to protect our data and private information. The problem is sophisticated security measures are expensive and difficult to maintain. One of the easiest ways to protect information is to encrypt the information. Unfortunately, finding a reliable method to encrypt data is difficult, and most attorneys lack sufficient knowledge to test or verify the encryption strength.

I’ve been non-committal about encrypting the information on my mobile device.  Android offers a method for encrypting data, but I haven’t seen the point.

That is until I read this Wall Street Journal article on the US government’s use of airplanes to snag data. Apparently, the airplanes broadcast cellular signals which mobile devices lock onto and send registration information.

us-spy-fake-tower-press-wsj

 

Obviously, this snooping is related to the cellular signal, as opposed to the device information, so you should note that encryption won’t necessarily protect you from this kind of snooping. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enable and encrypt your mobile device.

Why encrypt your Android device?

Encryption scrambles your phone’s data and stores it in an unreadable format. When you power on your device, you’ll need to enter a PIN or password to unlock your data. If someone doesn’t know the encryption PIN or password, they can’t access your data.

Encryption doesn’t necessarily guarantee more security for your device. Individuals who want to wipe your stolen phone and sell it still can. The benefit comes when they try and access your user data.

Encrypting your phone

The ability to encrypt your Android device is available on devices running Android 2.3.4 or greater. You’ll find encryption function under Security in the Android settings.

encryption

Before setting up encryption you should know that your device will run slower, and if you ever want to disable encryption — via Factory Reset — you’ll wipe all of the information on your device when you remove encryption. Also, encryption might not be necessary if you’re using some encrypted services to store documents and data.

If you’re ready to proceed, then charge up your battery and go “incognito” for about 1 hour.

encrypt phone

This is an irreversible process once you begin.

Click ENCRYPT PHONE and follow the prompts. You’ll see a progress indicator appear giving you an estimate of the remaining time. Allow the encryption process to complete, restart your device, enter your PIN or password, and your device data is safe. Don’t forget your password or PIN!

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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+.