8 Security & Privacy Apps for Android Users

Little more than a decade ago, nobody knew what a smartphone was. Let alone that they should be reading VPN reviews to figure out which virtual private network can best protect their online security. Today, smartphones, VPNs, and apps are indispensable parts of our lives. We’re not just talking about our personal lives – many employers provide employees with work-issued mobile devices.
Usually, IT staff set up these devices to ensure the security of company data. Earlier this year, however, COVID-19 forced much of the workforce into quarantine. With such a sudden shift, there was no time to issue IT-approved devices.

If you’re reading this, you might be in this exact situation. Thankfully, keeping the data on your mobile device secure is easier than you think. In this article, we’ll introduce you to eight Android apps that will help shore up your device’s privacy and security. 

1. Signal Private Messenger

Are you chatting with colleagues over Facebook Messenger? Stop –  bad actors can intercept and read anything you say. In doing so, sensitive trade secrets can easily fall into the wrong hands.

When you’re working, only communicate over channels using end-to-end encryption. No app rates better on this measure than Signal Private Messenger. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because Signal was the app Edward Snowden used to communicate with his sources.

Things haven’t changed since then. We’re serious – Signal has even made their code open-source to disarm cynics. This move allows anyone to check for open doors. If there were a breach, we’d know by now. So, if you need to keep your online communications secure, get your team to download this app ASAP.

2. RedPhone: Private Calls

Without voice calling, most businesses would cease to exist. However, thanks to the Snowden revelations, we know that security agencies actively record voice calls. Additionally, hackers can also eavesdrop by exploiting weaknesses in the SS7 protocol.

Stuff like this doesn’t just happen in political thrillers – black hats target companies and individuals every day. So, you should be encrypting your voice conversations as well. No app does this as effectively as RedPhone. Open Whisper Systems is behind its design – that’s the same firm that created Signal.

Use both apps in tandem, and you can keep digital and voice communications safe from the bad guys. 

3. Hushed for Android

Eventually, you’ll encounter the overly-persistent sales rep. If you’re a small enterprise, your personal number may double as your business number. As such, this situation can get annoying fast.

Can’t afford a second line yet? Thanks to the internet, you no longer need to – just download Hushed for Android. Within minutes, you’ll have a second number. Once you’ve secured one, you can answer calls during business hours, then set it to voicemail mode afterwards.   

4. ExpressVPN

While it can get lonely at times, working remotely has its advantages. One of its biggest pros is the ability to choose your workplace. If your improvised home office has gotten a bit too quiet, you can pack up your tablet and head to your local cafe.

Be wary, though – local hackers know all the remote work hot spots. And, if you’re unlucky enough to be working when they’re there, they could intercept your data. 

Many cafes don’t use secured connections – that means their router doesn’t encrypt data. In these places, a cybercriminal can camp out all day, pretending to work. Actually, they are working hard – to steal all the data they can get their hands on.

Instead of avoiding your favorite spots, use a VPN instead. Of all the Android VPN apps out there, ExpressVPN is among the best. They use the latest encryption protocols, they don’t keep user logs, and their networks are blazing fast. Log on, and ExpressVPN will encrypt all data sent and received.   

5. DuckDuckGo

Think you’ve covered all your tracks? Have you considered the digital trail you leave with your Google searches? Ever since the late 2000s, Google has openly admitted to collecting data on all its users.

They use this data to serve you with targeted ads. Ever search for something, then suddenly, you get ads about that thing? That’s exactly what we’re talking about – and it’s creepy.

Fortunately, Google doesn’t have a monopoly on search. We wouldn’t recommend Bing, though, as they also track your searches. Instead, we’ll point you towards DuckDuckGo. They don’t keep logs on what their users search for, but their benefits don’t stop there. They also block ad networks from doing the same.

As you search with DuckDuckGo, you’ll learn how many sites are gathering info on you. To be honest, it isn’t comforting.

6. LastPass

No modern task is more mentally exhausting than remembering passwords. But, you can’t use your pet’s name anymore – simple alphanumeric passwords aren’t just passé, they’re dangerous. Any two-bit hacker with a dictionary script can crack these.

So, we’ve gotten used to creating unique, long, and complex passwords. There’s just one problem – while safer, they’re nearly impossible to recall. Rather than burden your help desk with another password reset request, get LastPass.

This app remembers all your user/pass combos for you. All you have to do is remember your LastPass, and you’re golden.     

7. Crypt4All Lite

Not all files were created equal. Some are far more important than others. So, whether they sit on your device or a cloud server, you should be protecting them from unprivileged eyes.

Crypt4All Lite helps you accomplish this goal by using 256-bit AES encryption. This standard is one of the hardest to break in the world – snoopers will see nothing but gibberish. To unlock these files, authorized parties need only enter the password you give them.  

8. AppLock

Mobile thefts are depressingly common. While lock screens can keep your phone and tablet safe from unsophisticated thieves, pros will get in eventually. To frustrate them further, install AppLock.

AppLock allows you to lock individual apps, like your e-mail. To get in, users must enter a unique passcode. The extra time this buys will allow you to flip your device’s “kill switch” before a thief can do any damage.

Stay Safe & Secure While Working From Home

Internet security can be a chore to think about. However, when you consider what’s at stake, shoring up mobile security is a must. Take a few hours to secure your home office. Do so, and you may save yourself from experiencing an embarrassing hack.

Image credit: Edmond Dantes; Pexels

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