“Hey! This is the most awesome game you will ever play on Android.” These words are truly magical and act as a call to action for downloading the hippest game in town. You hear this sentence and go boom. There’s no other option left other than opening Google Play Store and downloading it. But have you ever really thought about what you are downloading? Think of your phone as your house.

Making an app download is like opening the door without knowing who’s going to step inside your house. So, you really need to protect your phone and impose limitations on entry. If you open this door without any checks, it will serve as a warm welcome to any malicious virus. Such a virus can infect your phone over an infinite period.

According to ESET (Slovakian Research firm), some of the most popular games on Android can often turn quite adverse. They become self-colluded from a virus that appears to act similar to the game. However, on the inside, it’s actually a fake version of the highly popular game like Candy Crush or Pokémon Go. Through such malicious efforts, notorious Android virus can create a room in your phone. The hackers behind the scene are able to steal the data and even manipulate it. Posing as real play store games, apps like Candy Crush Plants vs Zombie and Temple run had Mapin virus duplicates. So any user, without authentication, downloaded this virus appearing as games.  Mapin virus is thus able to infect the Play Store easily and make a fool of the search engine giant, Google.

Protection is the key requirement. Therefore, one must research and take certain precautions beforehand.

Here’s the go-to list that IT experts recommend for avoiding malicious hacker attacks.

1. Avoid side loading apps

Always download the app from Google Play Store. Though you may feel attracted to some highly fascinating apps outside the Play Store. But don’t fall for it or else you will keep asking for spam blockers like AirG Spam remover. Draw a line between personal security and indulgence with such apps. It’s a true proverb that not all that glitters is gold. Some of the sideloaded i.e. outside play store apps are very harmful. Downloading them will ruin your phone.

Do research and download apps by authentic developers and markets distributing them. Sideloading apps are disabled by default. However, to check this further go to settings and select verification for unknown sources.

2. Have a look at the app permission list

Install apps by developers who prove themselves reliable through various metrics or else follow Google’s recommended developers. Always keep an eye on the kind of permission a particular app tries to access. The permission titles, by all means, should make sense. For instance, a grocery site app has no need to access your camera, SMS or contacts. So, don’t keep granting illogical permissions for the sole reason that the app is free for use. In reality, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. We always trade something for freemium models. In the case of apps, it should be the advertorial time not the access to endless private data.

3. Using strong passwords and encryption works wonders

Always choose a sophisticated key or password for your login ID. A sophisticated password implies a mix of symbols, upper- and lower-case words. Stick to passwords and avoid entering pins or any graphically generated codes. Passwords ensure the highest degree of security. Choosing the best and the most complex password does not mean that you are all set to download an app. The user has to keep changing the set passwords regularly. This will further increase security.

Also, time the lock opening phase. Follow a minimalistic approach and set the least time to unlock the login ID. Always, keep in mind to select the hide password key buttons. To make this adjustment, in the settings bar create an uncheck bar for making the password to appear visible. Google has introduced two-factor authentication system. It means just after setting a password, the app sends the user a code via an e-mail or SMS to confirm user identity. It is very helpful and adds strength to the password.

Just as passwords, encryption is also very important. By encrypting data, there is no chance of losing it even if the handset is lost. To set this option, just go to the security section. Select the encrypt phone option and if you have an SD card then further select encrypt SD.

4. Use a VPN service

VPN comes into play when you are trying to access public hotspot or Wi-Fi from an un-trustworthy network connection. VPN usage will be a bonus point, as it not only secures data transfer but also enables access to restricted resources. VPN access in today’s time is just a few clicks away. Also, robust VPN networks don’t cost much. They have a reasonable price range. Another point to remember is that there can be data leakage prior to establishing a VPN connection. Therefore, select “always open” options for VPN.

The above guidelines are ways in which we as users can battle against any malware. However, it’s not the answer to everything. Use security packs in the form of antivirus programs. Security is the dilemma of the internet today. Hackers are acting as intruders and endless cookies as followers in the journey you take to access the web. Stay safe and always use security measures to avoid any data loss or damage.