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The best privacy and security apps for Android

Let's get rid of one thing immediately: If you're looking for recommendations for Android security suites or other malware scanning software, you're in the wrong place.

Why? Because like most people who study Android closely, I do not recommend using these types of apps at all. Android malware is not the massive real-world threat that is commonly detected, and Google Play Protect and other native Android features are more than enough to keep most devices safe.

However, there are some areas where third party apps can add valuable layers to your Android security image. It's less about fending off theoretical boogeyman and more about proactively protecting your accounts and data.

These are the actions that increase privacy and security on your Android device and the apps I want to install for everyone: 1

9659005] Manage Your Passwords

LastPass Password Manager

Your passwords are the gatekeepers for your digital life – at least for the foreseeable future – and it's up to you to make sure they are properly armed. The secret? Let a password manager serve as your muscle. A good password manager makes it easy to create and manage strong, unique passwords for any number of apps, websites, and services.

And on Android LastPass is the best choice. I recently thought it was the best all-around password manager for Android – and for a good reason: it's thoughtful, easy to use and effective because it securely stores your credentials and logs you in wherever a password is required [19659002] Once LastPass has recorded (or created) your various logins, it will automatically display a box of AutoFill information when you are asked to log in to a service – either through an app or on a website in your favorite Android browser All you have to do is touch your fingerprint finger sensor, confirm the credentials you want to use, and that's it: LastPass takes care of the rest.

  Android Privacy Apps - LastPass JR Raphael / IDG [19659012] LastPass eliminates the tedious creation and subsequent use of complex passwords across Android.

LastPass works just as well on the desktop and seamlessly synchronizes your information across multiple devices and platforms (with its own secure cloud storage and device-level encryption). , The core features are completely free, while a premium subscription for $ 24 a year gives you expanded storage space for notes and documents, the use of YubiKey and sesame as two-factor authentication methods, and the ability to create an emergency access plan that would give someone after prolonged inactivity Grant access to your account.

Family plans, team plans, and business plans are also available for $ 48 per year, $ 29 per user per year, and $ 48 per user

Protect your accounts with 2FA

Authy 2-Factor Authentication

Aside from using strong passwords, it's best to keep your online accounts safe by using two-factor authentication anywhere. Two-factor authentication requires a second form of identifying information in addition to your primary password – such as a code generated by an app on your phone. This makes it much harder for a modern grobian to access your account

The best app for managing two-factor authentication on Android is Authy. The Twilio-owned program outshines Google's own authenticator offering with a modern, intuitive design that makes it easy to find and copy codes for any number of 2FA-enabled accounts. It has handy advanced features like fingerprint protection at the app level, and you can even set Authy to work on multiple devices – including your desktop computer.

Authy is free. 19659020] Secure your connection


Virtual private networks or VPNs can be an effective way to keep your telephone communications confidential and secure – especially if you use public Wi-Fi networks to sneak around on outsiders "and to see all sorts of sensitive information from your sessions.

The best choice for your work is to use your corporate VPN service, provided an app is available. If not, NordVPN is one of the most recommended third-party options praised by Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, Privacy Guru (and frequent Computerworld contributor), and included in the best Android VPN pics by Android Central, PCMag, TechRadar, Tom & # 39; s Guide and Many Other Prominent Outlets

The service covers 3,000 servers in five dozen countries and promises "military" encryption for all your mobile traffic. It costs $ 12 a month, $ 6 a month if you pay one year in advance, or just over $ 3 a month if you're willing to pay a flat rate of $ 79 for two years of service. [19659025] Android Privacy Apps – NordVPN "width =" 700 "height =" 613 "data-imageid =" 100755391 "data-license =" IDG "/> JR Raphael / IDG

With NordVPN you can secure connections from a variety of servers around the world.

Well, all that is not the other Android to say VPN vendors will not be effective. "Evaluating a VPN app is incredibly complex and difficult to accomplish – and the number of variables involved makes it virtually impossible to make an unconditional recommendation. (The good people at Ars Technica sum up the challenge well.) Damn, look at that comparison table from That One Privacy Site – a highly respected independent VPN reviewer, It is enough to crawl into a bunker and live a life free of all networked technologies.

See you soon Having a standardized system for effectively validating VPNs and their many layers, most privacy professionals recommend resorting to a well reviewed and extensively evaluated service as a reputable provider. NordVPN fits this description into a T – more than any other candidate at the moment – hence its inclusion in this collection.

Encrypt your emails


If you need to know your emails & # 39; ProtonMail is the app you want to use so you can not be intercepted. Founded by scientists at CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research), ProtonMail uses an open-source method of end-to-end encryption to protect your messages from prying eyes. You do not have to provide any personal information, and the company says it does not keep records of IP addresses or other things that might link you to your account. In fact, the company even says its own employees could not read or access your messages if they wanted to.

(You may have heard of ProtonMail on the TV show of Mr. Robot – where master hacker Elliot Alderson uses the app to secure transmissions – as well as in the news about Cambridge Analytica, the company "Data Analytics" at the center of the Facebook data debacle, which appears to be ProtonMail for securely and independently destroying messages.)

The best thing about ProtonMail's security is that it takes almost no effort for you to create an account with the service and then send an e-mail. If you send an e-mail to another person with a ProtonMail address, encryption will be done automatically. If you want to contact someone with a non-ProtonMail address, you can tap an icon in the app's Compose tool to create a password and a hint. The recipient then only receives this information and must use the password to decrypt your message.

  Android Privacy Apps - ProtonMail JR Raphael / IDG

ProtonMail encryption is effective and easy to use – even with recipients who do not use ProtonMail themselves.

Safety aside, ProtonMails Android app is clean designed and enjoyable to use. The app has customizable labels and folders, and even allows you to define your own swipe gestures for your inbox (swipe left over a message to mark as read and swipe right to archive or delete). And, yes, it has an option to create self-destructive messages should it ever be necessary.

ProtonMail is free at its most basic level, containing one address, 500 MB of memory and up to 150 messages per day. You can get more storage, more messages per day, and extra features-including email filtering, auto-responder, and custom domain support-from $ 59 per year.

Encrypt your text and calls

Signal Private Messenger

Signal for what ProtonMail does for emails: With the open source service, you can securely communicate with contacts by using end-to-end Use end encryption and never access a remote server. With the app you can now also make encrypted voice and video calls with other signal users.

On the interface, Signal looks like any other SMS app: You can find people from your regular contact database or simply enter a phone number to start a conversation. If the other person uses the signal, the conversation is safe – and you see the option to start a secure voice or video chat. If your receiver does not use the signal, you can still send normal text messages and see a flashy "Unsecured SMS" message in the message box.

  Android Privacy Apps - Signal JR Raphael / IDG ” width=”700″ height=”613″ data-imageid=”100755390″ data-license=”IDG”/> 19659012] Signal feels like any other SMS app, but when you communicate with another signal user, all your transmissions are automatically encrypted.

The signal is free and no accounts are required. Just open the app, enter it and confirm your phone number, and you're ready to go.

Turn your browser privacy button to

Firefox Focus

Firefox Focus offers the easiest and most effortless private browser experience on Android. In the truest sense of the word, all you do is open and go the app: No history, cookies or passwords are ever saved, and the app automatically blocks trackers and ads on the internet. When you're done with a page, you tap on a floating trash can icon in the corner of the screen, and phew: It's gone forever, leaving no trace.

  Android Privacy Apps - Firefox Focus JR Raphael / IDG

Firefox Focus Power Privacy – The First Browsing As Easy As Possible.

Firefox Focus has a handful of settings to control the nuances of its blocking features, but there really is not much else. If you want to surf the web without leaving a trail (at least as far as the browser itself is concerned), this is by far the easiest way.

Firefox Focus is free.

Brave Browser

19659007] For the private browser in a more traditional browser environment, Brave Browser is the way to go. The free app, created by a co-founder of Mozilla, the company behind Firefox, looks and behaves very much like Google's Chrome Android browser. (Perhaps not surprisingly, the program uses Google's open source Chromium code.)

Brave's main interface and menus are virtually indistinguishable from Chrome, and the app even has Chrome reminders for History, downloads, and bookmarks, along with features to automatically fill in information and save passwords (even though the data from those areas will not be synced to your Google Account or available on other devices, as Chrome would) [19659002] In addition to this foundation, Brave includes a variety of built-in tools for blocking ads, pop-ups, scripts, and various types of web-based tracking systems. Unlike Firefox Focus, it does not work in a permanent incognito mode. So, if you want to prevent your history, cookies, site data, and cache from being saved, you must either open Incognito windows manually (as in Chrome), or browse app settings to clear that data as needed.

  Android Privacy Apps - Brave Browser JR Raphael / IDG

Brave is basically like Chrome – just added with a bunch of privacy-oriented options.

It's less a no-frills, all-in-one browser and more like a standard browser with added built-in privacy features that can be either an advantage or a liability depending on your preferences.

additional level of encryption where you need it

Solid Explorer File Manager

Most current Android phones come with encryption by default (you can check the "Encryption" option in the "Security" section of the device) ) – However, if you need an extra layer of protection for specific files or folders, Solid Explorer will do the job.

With Solid Explorer, Android File Manager lets you browse and edit the files on your device's local storage on a variety of third-party cloud storage services-including Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive-if you want to connect them. If you have a file or folder you want to protect, find and select it in the app and then choose "Encrypt" from the main menu.

After that, all you have to do is enter a password and optionally enable fingerprint authentication, and the file will not be visible until after your credentials have been entered. Even system-level services, such as the Android Downloads app, can not open the file unless you first decrypt it in Solid Explorer.

  Android Privacy Apps - Solid Explorer JR Raphael / IDG

Solid Explorer Allows adding an extra layer of encryption to specific files and folders.

Solid Explorer costs $ 2 after a free two-week trial

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