What You Need to Know About Android Tablet Security

Matt Smith 04-11-2011

As tablets become more popular, they’re serving as stand-ins for computers for some users. Although most people still own a PC, tablets are particularly nice for web browsing and online video, making them common couch-side companions.


This, however, could introduce some issues. If tablets are being used like computers, they could be exposed to the same threats. Which begs the question – how can you deal with Internet security on your Android tablet?

Permissions – Like The Phones

The entry to understanding Android on any device is permissions, and in this respect Android tablets work much like the phones. Heck, this same system isn’t even Android exclusive – Google has already adapted the same idea to Chrome extensions and web apps.

android internet security

Permissions are very simple. Before you download an app, you are given a list of permissions that app requests of your device. These are not optional – if you download the app, you are agreeing to the permissions. Once permission is given, it can’t be revoked unless you uninstall the app.

You therefore need to be very careful about what you download. Reading permissions can seem annoying – but do it anyway. An app that is malicious can easily get up to mischief without you knowing, and while such instances in the real world remain limited, they do exist.


Downloading An Antivirus App Is A Good Idea

As I point out in virtually every Android Internet security article, antivirus apps for the platform remain a bit of an open question. Comprehensive, objective tests of their ability to defend again threats remain rare.

However, a recent A/V Comparatives study did show that most security apps were able to protect against a test selection of malware threats, and the study goes so far as to recommend that all Android users install antivirus software.

android security

Which one should you download? I’m a fan of Kaspersky’s Tablet Security, and recommend it as a first choice, but does require a pricey $20/year subscription. That may seem like a lot, and if you want free, Lookout Mobile Security can work well – but keep in mind that the app’s $2.99/month premium option totals to almost $36/year.


Treat It Like A Laptop

When it comes to network security, tablets are much like laptops. They almost always connect to the Internet via Wi-Fi, and are subject to all the security risks How To Combat WiFi Security Risks When Connecting To A Public Network As many people now know, connecting to a public, unsecured wireless network can have serious risks. It’s known that doing this can provide an opening for all manner of data theft, particularly passwords and private... Read More  that results from that. Fortunately, your Android tablet supports secured wireless connections, and that’s a feature you should always use whenever possible. The issue which is of concern is the chance that a hacker will be able to obtain your browsing data if you use an unsecure connection, and it applies to tablets just as with laptops.

One useful feature is Android’s built-in VPN support, which you’ll find in your tablet’s settings. Just enter the VPN address and your username/password for it, and you’re off! You can use this with many VPN services  8 Totally Free VPN Services to Protect Your Privacy Free unlimited data VPNs don't exist unless they're scams. Here are the best actually free VPNs around that you can try safely. Read More to provide yourself with secure browsing over unsecured networks.

Use Honeycomb’s Encryption

Android has not been particularly popular with enterprise users because of a general lack of focus on enterprise security, but there has been some inroads made in that direction, one of which is the encryption feature on Honeycomb tablets.

android internet security


The feature is found in the Location & Security section of Honeycomb’s settings, and can encrypt the contents of your tablet’s memory. Doing this does not make it unhackable, nor does it mean that someone couldn’t intercept your Wi-Fi transmissions, but it does means it will be difficult for anyone to steal your data if the tablet is lost or stolen.

If you do encrypt your tablet, remember that you also won’t be able to access the tablet’s data if you are locked out of your tablet. Backing up important files is, as always, a good idea.


Security for tablets is far from mature, just as the threats that may exploit a tablet are far from mature. There is some degree of security via obscurity available as of now, as many website exploits and viruses simply won’t work against tablets. That’s not going to last forever though. Security threats will become more and more common as the devices themselves become more and more popular. This process will take many years, but hey – it certainly doesn’t hurt to have a head start.

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  1. indra
    January 19, 2017 at 10:32 am

    Please help automitic setting

  2. fedor hlubocky
    December 7, 2016 at 9:36 am

    sir-how to proceed unblocking my vodaco tablet sb2 3.g .tabled is using anroid system
    - my tablet is protected by security -if lost,stolen,recovery atc..
    - query as above (how to...) cause try to register for tablet security -by agent vodaco call/cntr. midd
    lands mall. Pietermaritzburg-kzn south Africa...with disastrous result following...
    - on advice to put (passw,4digit number)for security (others cant see info on my tablet atc..) - I did
    that-not before was ASSURED -do not do this every time to (sms phone,google,email)-only then en
    tered passw..
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    - try to cancel all -screen not open,no communication,noting -only ph. screen enter paswoord
    - so call expert-consultant,supervisor said sorry ..(nearly punch someone-frustration,,)
    - ..said to unblocked my tablet * enter passw, or *wipe all info on it-never aggred to
    - after all they give me advice, even I did ask for- as above mentioned
    ps any advise to unblocked my tablet is greatly appreciated-looking forward to you reply
    please treat this as urgent query
    regards fred

  3. how to edit video
    November 28, 2011 at 6:41 am

    These are smart stuffs for keep your tablet safe. I think good antivirus is quite an easy way to keep it safe. Honeycomb encryption is also better option. You have to treat it like laptop.

  4. Marc Couture
    November 23, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    Permissions can and should be managed by the user, especially if the tablete is rooted.  Apart from that, good article.

  5. dell akku
    November 17, 2011 at 9:07 am

    that is a good post
    I have never thought of that before!

  6. Anonymous
    November 14, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    The biggest security hole that they have plugged is that they use the full TCP/IP code and does not leave "sockets" lingering, readu for anyone else to connect to. So those that seek to commercially exploit the OS has to do so according to the terms agreed on. This is miles better than Windows.

  7. Kevin
    November 4, 2011 at 9:19 pm

    Great article, since I've been thinking about antiviruses for my  tablet. Have you had opportunity to test/try/evaluate any of the (few) free A/V apps on Android Market?

    I'm a tablet (Toshiba Thrive) and Android new user. I don't use a mobile-phone, but I wanted the portability of taking my personal books along anywhere, plus being able to access the web occasionally.. this question may be off-topic, but to me seems related: Does an android "firewall" exist? On my PC, I use Comodo Firewall/Defense combo. I like how it works and I can almost understand how to use the program.


    • M.S. Smith
      November 9, 2011 at 7:20 pm

      I've downloaded several of them and I like Lookout the best of the freebies. I am not aware of any Firewall being available, however.