4 steps to securing your Android

These tips will help keep your smart phone safe.

1. Don't download programs outside the official Android Market.

Only download from sources you trust. For example, the code that Google used to remotely remove the DroidDream malware was turned around by malware makers in China to look like the Google security code but was really a malicious app. A third-party application store offered that app.

2. Check the permissions of the app before you download it.

The Android Market will prompt you to check permissions for the application before you download it. If you are downloading a seemingly innocent app of Aristotle's quotes, why would it need access to your contacts and SMS messages? If an app has suspicious permissions, don't download it.

3. Keep an eye on open applications.

Some Android applications are always open and running in the background, especially ones that you set as widgets on your home screen. Install a task manager application or use the native Android manager application to see what apps open by themselves. Remove applications that open for no reason.

4. Don't root your phone.

The DroidDream exploit was known as “rageagainstthecage,” which refers to the protection that surrounds a phone kernel. Rooting a phone removes that protection and leaves a phone more susceptible to malware seeking root access.

About the Author

Dan Rowinski is a staff reporter covering communications technologies.

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