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#1 Posted by pompouspizza (1556 posts) -

I have recently decided that I want to make the switch from IOS to Android. I'm switching from an IPhone 6 to a OnePlus 3 as I'm pretty bored of IOS and I already have an Ipad that does everything except the phone part. However, the one thing that really worries me is security.

Is there anything I should know about staying safe on Android? I don't even know if it is really something I should worry about but I have never used Android before so I'm used to the closed bubble of IOS.

Thanks in advance!

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#2 Edited by Yesiamaduck (2539 posts) -

It's perfectly safe, if you're worried just don't install apps outside of the playstore and don't go on any websites you wouldn't with your PC. You have to enable your phones ability to download and install uncertified software so it's fairly difficult to download something malicious, not impossible, but difficult. A little bit of commonsense goes a long way.

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#3 Posted by diz (1394 posts) -

Just make sure you get all the manufacturer's OS updates - I think One +3 might use Cyanogen. I have a One+ 1 ( I also have a 2, but the phone reception is shit so I don't use it) and the system updates are fairly regular. You can set up "App" access to the system quite easily, including hiding notifications. You can also see the sort of access being requested from apps before you install them. It seems fairly safe to me....

Good luck!

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#4 Posted by MonkeyKing1969 (7512 posts) -

I have never had an issue with my Andorid phones. I think as with most devices, just being smart 99.5% of being safe.

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#5 Posted by pompouspizza (1556 posts) -

@diz: Thanks a lot! I'm excited to make the switch. The plus 3 seems like a great phone for the price. I considered a Galaxy S7 but it's too expensive.

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#6 Edited by Rorie (5672 posts) -

Some say that it's the finest technological achievement the human race has ever achieved. We've achieved what was formerly unachiveable, some say! Achieve with me.

Staff
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#7 Posted by laxbro19 (406 posts) -

No, it isn't safe. But then again, life isn't safe.

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#8 Posted by pompouspizza (1556 posts) -
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#9 Posted by pompouspizza (1556 posts) -
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#10 Posted by The_Nubster (4032 posts) -

Like others have said, don't be a dope with your browsing choices. Anything from the official stores are 100% safe, and don't sideload apps unless you're confident beyond the shadow of a doubt that they're okay. You'll be fine! I believe in you!

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#11 Posted by Zella (1275 posts) -

As long as you don't go installing non-play store apps then you should be fine. The Oneplus 3 uses Oxygen OS which is Oneplus's version of android. It is fairly close to stock with a few extra features. I have a Oneplus 2 and while I really like the phone I am not a fan of the the OS. For quite a while it was really apparent that Oxygen had a significant memory leak and the fingerprint scanner was kind of slow before the Marshmallow update (which switched to using Google's Fingerprint Scanner API that was included with that version of android). I've also had issues such as audio just not outputting during calls (have to reboot to fix it).

For protection for the seemingly non-stop emergence of android exploits I believe Oneplus has committed to trying to keep up with Google's monthly security updates.

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#12 Posted by Zirilius (1700 posts) -

Like others have said, don't be a dope with your browsing choices. Anything from the official stores are 100% safe, and don't sideload apps unless you're confident beyond the shadow of a doubt that they're okay. You'll be fine! I believe in you!

Actually that's not entirely accurate. There have been occasions on both the iTunes App Store and the Google Play Store that something malicious did make it into the store. Granted the chances of this are very very small but it still does happen on occasion. I'd still side on the 99.9999999999999999999901% chance that the app is safe but you can never be too certain.

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#13 Posted by diz (1394 posts) -

@pompouspizza: I'm really pleased with my 1. The 2 has great hardware, but it's problems with phone reception put me off upgrading for now. My 1 is still really good and I don't feel the need to upgrade for lack of performance. I kind of got suckered into getting the 2 because they said they could put me on a special pre-order list soon after I got the 1... I guess my concern is that I bought both phones directly from the manufacturer's website, so made it difficult for me to do anything about my own reception problem with the 2. No doubt though they are fine phones (regardless of price) and I hope you get on with your one. Getting used to the Android OS was surprisingly easy for me, after having a Windows phone and iphone before that. It really is pretty straight forward though.

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#14 Posted by Stonyman65 (3804 posts) -

Its fine as long as you don't download random shit and click spam ads. Treat it the same way you would a Windows machine. Use an AV like Panda or AVG, and use common sense.

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#15 Posted by Toxeia (792 posts) -

I'd argue for you to go to just about any other vendor but OnePlus. They did a deal with CyanogenMod which fell through on their part, then they introduced USB-C to their devices but they only operated at USB 2.0. So bad file transfer speeds and charge speed. I can really recommend a Nexus 5X if you can find one, which would also give you the opportunity to try GoogleFi if that's a thing you'd be interested in.

Android's last 2 major versions have been very secure. Lollipop and Marshmallow will ask you if an application can have access to a portion of your device, which is a little annoying sometimes. Think Windows UAC. It'll ask for stuff like "Can Camera have access to your device's: Storage? This allows it to add, remove, modify files in the internal storage of your device. Approve or Deny" So you're far less likely these days to accidentally install something that will wreak havoc without your knowing. It also has the same security features iOS has, such as the track your device or remote wipe.

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#16 Posted by mellotronrules (2567 posts) -

i recently signed up with project fi on a nexus 5x- if you stick to the google play store and update the OS as available, you have very, very little to worry about. most vulnerabilities are a result of poor practices (social engineering and bad password management) rather than weaknesses endemic to a platform.

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#17 Posted by Mike (17990 posts) -

Its fine as long as you don't download random shit and click spam ads. Treat it the same way you would a Windows machine. Use an AV like Panda or AVG, and use common sense.

You really don't need antivirus on Android. Just leave Unknown Sources disabled and that alone will protect your device from almost all Android malware. If you do allow Unknown Sources, then Android has a built-in scanner that will warn you about potential problems found in new apps. Since there is virtually no Android malware on the Play Store, if Unknown Sources is left disabled, there is virtually no chance of getting any malware.

Moderator
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#18 Posted by mrcraggle (3075 posts) -

Just like PC, only install from trusted sources. If it seems like it may not be 100% legit, then steer clear.

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#19 Posted by audioBusting (2558 posts) -

@toxeia: the usb 2.0 is weird, but it's actually got pretty quick charging with the Oppo VOOC stuff. It's annoying that it's a proprietary charger, but it works.

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#20 Posted by rocketblast0063 (228 posts) -

Generally Android is safe. People have already mentioned trusted sources so I wont go into that. But a concern with Android is that (some) carriers are slow pushing out updates. Google is usually fast with security updates though, so if that is a concern, try to get a vanilla phone with no middle hand software installed. If that makes sense.

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#21 Posted by RonGalaxy (4936 posts) -

No one is safe from Cyber-Criminals™.

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#22 Posted by whur (216 posts) -

So the answer is no and pretty objectively so in the infosec/cybersec world. Im not talking about trusted applications and sideloading, I'm talking about real security exploits. For example, dirtycow is currently unpatched on android devices, you can research this exploit on your own.

Good news is there havent been a good amount of reports for android devices successfully being tampered with. Recently a journalist was at the receiving end of a phishing attack attempting to exploit his android phone via a malicious URL.

There's a quick run down and you'll know if this kind of 'safe' is what you need to care about or not.

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#23 Posted by RainDog505 (161 posts) -

I'm sure the analogy of Android = PC has been made in this forum...and it's mostly earned. Yes, there are more viruses and shady software available to the open structure of Android, but it's kept bogged down in the Google Play Store and you'll only have problems if you take stupid risks (download mp3.exe from sites in Slavic languages, download software/apps from browser, place shady custom firmware). I, too, switched between iOS and Android a few times this decade. Both are great, but I honestly prefer the more customizable experience of Android over the pristine and overly safe iOS ethos

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#25 Posted by Anund (1258 posts) -

Having the freedom to do something stupid doesn't mean you have to do it! You stay safe on Android in the same ways that you stay safe on your computer. Don't download shady software and don't browse shady websites.

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#26 Posted by DanishingAct (412 posts) -

Welcome to the fold, but remember to keep an eye on the little green dude. HE gets a little shifty at night. ...I swear I had another set of glasses before he showed up.

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#27 Posted by Zelyre (1899 posts) -

Some say that it's the finest technological achievement the human race has ever achieved. We've achieved what was formerly unachiveable, some say! Achieve with me.

Vote Rorie/Puppy 2016!

Everyone's already pretty much covered it. Keep to the Play store, don't install APK's you download from giantbomb.ru, and double check what you're installing. You don't want to accidentally install the Chinese card game Hearths Stone from B Lizard Entertainment.

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#28 Posted by AlisterCat (8067 posts) -

I know it's been covered already, but absolutely. Chrome will keep you safe for the majority of web browsing if that's your browser of choice. Google's Play store will keep you safe from harmful apps. Treat it like a PC, don't be dumb and you'll be OK.

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#29 Edited by GalacticPunt (1509 posts) -

When I clicked on this thread, the views count was at exactly 666. So there you go. It's clearly not safe. Satan is going to sideload onto your Android phone and swallow your soul.

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#30 Edited by guanophobic (587 posts) -

Converted to Android with the Oneplus 1, and cannot think to go back for a moment. Got a Oneplus 3 a couple of months ago, and only have one complaint. The back of it is too slippery for my hands, make sure to order a cover.

A sleeping phone with touch unlock is instant, and the memory leak issues could be 'solved' with the insane amount of ram in it.

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#31 Edited by OurSin_360 (6133 posts) -

Ill just reiterate what Mike said, from what i understand if you dont allow installs from unknown sources there is nothing dangerous that can really happen. Now there are some ads on chrome that hijack the browser (or at least make it impossible to click anything) but they are simple to get around and cant upload any maleware or anything. Its more annoying than anything, and no anti virus I've tried stopped it anyway.

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#32 Posted by Zevvion (5965 posts) -

The question makes me think you've bought too much into the Apple marketing. In reality, it is bottom of the barrel in almost everything, that includes safety. That said, Android is much less of an oppressive OS, so you can install anything you choose to install. But given the fact you're on these forums, we can assume you know installing stuff outside of the Playstore that looks shady is probably not a smart move. Source checking will be required. But since you're coming from Apple, you probably won't venture outside of the Playstore for a bit anyway.

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#33 Posted by OtterChaos (370 posts) -

I've had a Oneplus 1 for a while now and never had any issues. I have a Pixel on order as I want to check out Project Fi and felt I needed an upgrade to my phone. Still love the Oneplus 1 though.

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#34 Edited by CrazyBagMan (1642 posts) -

what a world we live in

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#35 Posted by pompouspizza (1556 posts) -

@zevvion: Yeah, it seems like it's exactly what I though...use common sense and I should be fine. Thanks for the advice.

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#36 Posted by pompouspizza (1556 posts) -
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#37 Posted by DGBruin08 (171 posts) -
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#38 Posted by CatsAkimbo (792 posts) -

Mobile developer here that works on security related stuff. Android is very safe and even provides some better security options than iOS in the granularity of permissions. Broadly, iOS is better in terms of hardware security, but that doesn't matter as much in every case.

It's much easier to "root" an android, which I would avoid doing. You're literally removing a layer of security so you can install something with more permissions, which can let you do neat stuff, but also means it has access to everything on the phone. By permissions here I mean stuff like reading data in every other app, monitoring the keyboard in any app, silently turning on the camera, etc. It's totally possible to safely install a custom ROM if you trust it and then never install anything as root again, but it's not a given you'll do it safely if you're just following some guide online.

I'm not pulling your chain about the silent camera thing either. We were prototyping an app that would turn an old phone into a security camera, and if the user left the phone rooted, we didn't have to ask permission to leave the camera on and running 24/7, constantly uploading video history to a server. Could even start the camera immediately on boot before you even unlock it.

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#39 Edited by mordukai (8516 posts) -

@pompouspizza:Made the switch myself around 2 years ago and I couldn't be happier. I will never go back to iPhones. You won't regret it. Like other have said, just be smart what you put in it and which websites you go to.

@rorie: You should do a PSA with that statement. :)

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#40 Posted by pompouspizza (1556 posts) -

@catsakimbo: Wow, thanks for the insight! I think I'm going to make the switch to Android. The camera thing is terrifying.

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#41 Posted by pompouspizza (1556 posts) -

@mordukai: What makes Android so much better to you?

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#42 Posted by mordukai (8516 posts) -

@pompouspizza: Level of customization, seems to me there are more free apps then iOS, if I decided to switch a phone I have way more options and different price points, micro SD support which I use a lot, more control over apps and what runs on your phone.

I think if I to distill it for a single reason is the way it gives the users more control over the device.

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#43 Posted by pompouspizza (1556 posts) -

@mordukai: storage is a big sticking point for me. I have a 16gb IPhone which is useless but the amount apple charge for storage is insane! One downside to the OnePlus 3 is that you can't expand the storage but 64gb is enough for what I need.

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#44 Edited by dagas (3662 posts) -

Same as with PC. Don't install apps you don't trust and don't visit sites you don't trust.

I don't know if Android is any less boring though- I switched years ago because Apple refused to make bigger screens but since iPhone 6 they have adopted bigger screens but by then I also realized how much cheaper Android is. Also since I use chrome on my PC everything syncs with that so that's great. iPhone is great if you are a Mac person but otherwise even Windows phone have better sync if you have Windows 10. Keep in mind I've not used iPhone since iPhone 4 but I don't miss anything except the easy way to subscribe to podcasts and how the music player on iPhone knew where you left off if you pause a podcast and listen to music for a bit. On Android I need to finish a podcast because listening to music will reset the podcast. But the increase in flexibility is great. You don't need to sync your phone with iTunes and can just drag and drop files to and from it. I'm sure iPhone have advanced since I used them and since they have bigger screens now I would not be totally against using one but when I can get a good flagship Android phone like LG G5 or Huawei Honor 8 for half the price of an iPhone (at least here in my country) Then I see no reason to pay twice as much for an Apple logo.

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#45 Posted by Anund (1258 posts) -

@dagas said:

Same as with PC. Don't install apps you don't trust and don't visit sites you don't trust.

I don't know if Android is any less boring though- I switched years ago because Apple refused to make bigger screens but since iPhone 6 they have adopted bigger screens but by then I also realized how much cheaper Android is. Also since I use chrome on my PC everything syncs with that so that's great. iPhone is great if you are a Mac person but otherwise even Windows phone have better sync if you have Windows 10. Keep in mind I've not used iPhone since iPhone 4 but I don't miss anything except the easy way to subscribe to podcasts and how the music player on iPhone knew where you left off if you pause a podcast and listen to music for a bit. On Android I need to finish a podcast because listening to music will reset the podcast. But the increase in flexibility is great. You don't need to sync your phone with iTunes and can just drag and drop files to and from it. I'm sure iPhone have advanced since I used them and since they have bigger screens now I would not be totally against using one but when I can get a good flagship Android phone like LG G5 or Huawei Honor 8 for half the price of an iPhone (at least here in my country) Then I see no reason to pay twice as much for an Apple logo.

Get BeyondPod for your podcasts and that issue should be solved.

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#46 Posted by AlisterCat (8067 posts) -

@anund: I will also endorse beyond pod. Works great. There is a premium option which I bought during a sale but I haven't used a single premium feature. The free version is more than good enough.

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#47 Edited by Splodge (2752 posts) -

Nothing is safe. Just assume every device you own is regularly raided for any private data you have on it and act accordingly.

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#49 Posted by Kazona (3399 posts) -

more safe than Samsung it's for sure :)

Last I checked Samsung uses an Android OS.

To the OP: Who needs safe? Just download and install EVERYTHING! Live life on the edge!

Seriously though, Android is as safe as you make it. In the interest of full disclosure, however, there have been a few cases where Malware was found in apps installed through Google's official Play Store. The risk of such things are slightly higher with Android because it is by nature a more open platform and that includes people being able to create apps and submitting them to the app store (Play Store). Far as I know Apple is more strict about approving new apps for their store.

Should you worry about that? Not really. I've been using Android phones for years now and have never encountered any serious malware. Note that I specifically said "serious malware" because I have encountered malware but these were entirely my own fault due to experimenting with all kinds of shit.

So in short yes there's malware on Android just like any other popular OS but as long as you use common sense and don't install everything willy nilly (I love that phrase) you have very little to worry about. And hey, if you are really security counsious there's a whole host of Antivirus apps for Android.