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Securing Android Devices

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This guide is meant to assist in applying the minimum security settings required on Android Devices. Due to the broad scope of Android Devices, this is only meant as a general guide and actual procedures may vary between different devices.

Intended Audience

This Quicknote is intended for current faculty, staff, and students who would like to know more about securing their Android Devices.

Requirements

To follow this Quicknote you will need to have a device that runs an Android operating system, also called an Android Device.

Before You Begin

Most of the needed security settings can be found by clicking on the Settings icon in the applications menu.
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Table of Contents


Setting up Screen Lock [Back]

Setting up a lock requires a password, PIN, or passcode for access. This prevents others from using your device by requiring the passcode to unlock it.
  • In the Settings menu, 
  • Click on Lock Screen 
  • Click on Screen lock 
  • Set a password that is complex but easy for you to remember.
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Set the screen lock to auto-lock after 15 or fewer minutes of inactivity. This, in conjunction with your password/PIN/passcode, protects your device from unauthorized use and helps conserve battery power.
  • From the Settings screen 
  • Click on Display  
  • Click on Screen timeout.
  • Set a time limit of fewer than 15 minutes.
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In the Lock screen menu, click on Lock automatically and set a time limit so the total combined time of screen timeout and lock screen time is less than 15 minutes.
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Encrypting Your Android Device [Back]

Turn on data encryption. This prevents others from accessing the data on your device.
  • From the Settings screen, 
  • Click on Security 
  • Click on Encrypt device  
  • Click on Encrypt external SD card.
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Device Locator: Android Device Manager [Back]

Install and use a device tracking app. Such an app will help you track or remotely erase your device if it is lost or stolen.
A free app that can be used for remote tracking and data wiping is the Android Device Manager. To install this see the following.
  • From the applications menu, click on the Play Store app
  • Use the magnifying glass in the upper right corner to search
  • Type in and search for Android Device Manager
  • Click on it and then click INSTALL
  • Once installed, open the app and follow the onscreen instructions.
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Disable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth When Not In Use [Back]

When not using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, turn them off. This prevents unauthorized access to your device through those connections.
You can turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth from the Settings screen as shown below.
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Regularly Update Your Devices [Back]

Keep your Android firmware and apps updated. This helps to ensure you have the latest security updates installed.
Your phone should prompt you automatically when updates for applications are available. Click on the prompt and accept the update.
For updating the phone's firmware and software, click on About phone from the Settings screen. Then click on Software update.
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Install Apps From Trusted Sources [Back]

Only install trusted market apps, such as Google Play or Amazon Marketplace apps. This helps avoid installing malware that may be hiding in untrusted apps.
  • From the settings screen 
  • Click on Security 
  • Ensure Unknown sources is unchecked and Verify apps are checked as shown below.
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Wipe Your Device Before Selling It [Back]

Before you sell or give away your device, erase all content and settings. This prevents others from accessing your data.
Click on Backup and reset from the Settings screen. Please note that the Factory data reset will delete all the data on the phone and you will lose any information you have not backed up to a secure location.
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Additional Information

For a complete list of minimal Android Device security requirements and assistance, please visit the safe computing page at https://www.safecomputing.umich.edu/protect-yourself/secure-your-devices/mobile/android

Troubleshooting[Back]

If you have any questions or experience any issues with this Quicknote, please visit or contact the ITS Helpdesk for assistance.

Location: 206 Murchie Science Building
Phone#: (810)-762-3123 (option 1)
Email: flint.its.support@umich.edu

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