<p> Android smartphones offer much in the way of choice and innovation. But the phones also have some serious security problems that need to be dealt with.</p> <p> The truth is that Android phones just need a little bit of <a href="">love and common sense</a> from their end users to be safe.</p> <p> Here are some tips to keep you and your Android phone safe.</p>

Don&#39;t underestimate the power in your hand

<p> When it comes to your smartphone, you don&rsquo;t always know the power you&#39;re holding. Your phone is <a href="">basically a computer</a>, and it has the same limitations and weaknesses as any other computer. Take the same basic precautions you would use with a Windows PC &mdash; which means, first of all, installing anti-virus software.</p>

Be careful where you get your apps

<p> Stu Sjouwerman, founder of KnowBe4, a private security firm in Clearwater, Fla., says every Android user needs to be cautious about downloading and installing apps.</p> <p> &quot;Not all apps are friendly or safe. <a href="">Some apps are evil</a>,&quot; Sjouwerman said. &quot;Make sure you check out apps carefully before you install them on your phone or tablet. Also, be careful downloading free games for your phone.&quot;</p> <p> [<a href="">How to Detect Malicious Android Apps Before They Infect Your Smartphone or Tablet</a>]</p>

Don&#39;t answer text messages from unfamiliar numbers

<p> Text messages from unknown entities are best deleted, not answered. Otherwise, you might <a href="">end up with malware</a>.</p> <p> &quot;If you get urgent fake messages that your phone is virus-infected, these messages are bogus, and if you click and download, that will get your phone actually infected,&quot; Sjouwerman said.&nbsp;</p>

Be sure app come from the right developers

<p> When it comes to downloading and installing an app, even <a href="">a popular one like &quot;Angry Birds,&quot;</a> you have to make sure it&#39;s coming from the right developer.</p> <p> Fake or pirated apps have been found in both the official Google Play app store and &quot;off-road&quot; markets, and these copies of popular games and apps, which may be free or offered at seriously reduced price, <a href="">often harbor malware</a>.</p> <p> Make sure you have the legit version of the app, not a sneaky copy harboring something that will infect your phone.</p> <p> [<a href="">8 Android Trojans You Need to Watch Out For</a>]</p>

Update your phone&#39;s software as often as possible

<p> &quot;Many ask themselves, &#39;Why should I update my device?&#39; The answer is quite simple: By keeping your <a href="">operating system up-to-date</a>, you will reduce the risk of security vulnerabilities,&quot; said Sabrina M. Powers of SecureState, an information-security provider in Cleveland.</p> <p> &quot;Your Android device will usually prompt you when an update is available. Most Android updates are carried out &#39;over-the-air.&#39; Therefore, it&#39;s crucial that you are first hooked up to either your mobile network or Wi-Fi before initiating the update,&quot; Powers said. &quot;To check for updates, go to Settings -&gt; System Updates -&gt; Firmware Update.&quot;</p> <p> [<a href="">Why You Should Hack Your Android Phone</a>]</p>

Choose your cloud storage wisely

<p> Storage in the &quot;cloud&quot; is a good way to save memory space on your phone, but choose it well. You don&#39;t need a setup with a lot of features &mdash; just one with <a href="">rock-solid security</a> and a way to limit file-sharing.</p> <p> [<a href="">Mobile Malware: The Smartphone Security Quiz</a>]</p>

Back up your data and add a remote-wipe feature

<p> &quot;God forbid your device has been lost or stolen, what should you do? What if the thief attempts to gain access to those embarrassing pictures of you?&quot; Powers said. &quot;No need to panic &mdash; there&#39;s an easy fix.</p> <p> &quot;By adding a <a href="">remote-wipe feature</a>, you can erase those humiliating pictures (and all other data) remotely before the phone thief gets his grubby hands on them,&quot; Powers said. &quot;Unlike Apple devices such as the iPhone or iPad, Android devices do not natively incorporate features such as Remote Wipe and Backup.</p> <p> &quot;So instead choose <a href="" target="_blank">third-party software</a> from a reputable source designed to keep your data safely off your phone.&quot;</p> <p> [<a href="">Safeguard Your Android Smartphone Before It&#39;s Stolen</a>]</p>

Don&#39;t do business on your phone

<p> &quot;Under no circumstances do any <a href="">financial transactions</a> on your phone,&quot; Sjouwerman said. &quot;Your credit-card data will travel over the air and can be compromised.&quot;</p> <p> It may be more convenient to use your phone, but it&#39;s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your credit-card numbers and <a href="">bank accounts</a>.</p>

Encrypt your data

<p> Using encryption to keep data secure is an essential part of using any machine. By adding encryption, you give your data security a fighting chance.</p> <p> &quot;Encryption is known as the translation of data into a secret code. Before data may be accessed, a key or <a href="">password</a> must be entered,&quot; Powers said. &quot;For <a href="">the sake of your data</a>, it is extremely important to enable disk encryption.</p> <p> &quot;Enable data encryption by tapping Settings -&gt; Security -&gt; Enable Encryption. By enabling this option, you make it difficult for someone to pull readable data from your phone if the device is lost or stolen.&quot;</p> <p> [<a href="">Paranoid About Android: Is Google&#39;s Smartphone Platform Secure?</a>]</p>

Set your passcode or pattern lock

<p> Use a <a href="">passcode</a> or <a href="">pattern lock</a> to protect your phone. If you&#39;re choosing a numerical passcode, use more than the minimum four digits.&nbsp;</p> <p> Instead, use something long and complicated and you will be rewarded with greater security. As always, choose your passcode or pattern wisely.</p> <p> [<a href="">How Parents Can Protect Their Kids&#39; Cellphones</a>]</p>

10 Tips to Keep Your Android Phone Safe