Most of us nowadays keep all our personal & business data on smartphones. We carry our phones around with us, increasing risk of losing it by theft or misplacement. Our data in the wrong hands can be very disastrous.
Lock Screen or Screen Lock explained
Lock screen, also known as screen lock is the most commonly used security systems for phone nowadays. But most of us don’t know how easy is to bypass this security, a simple firmware reset or reflashing will disable the screen lock and let the intruder access all our data. Firmware reset or reflashing is very easy nowadays with plenty of instructions available online. Some phones can be simply connected to a computer’s USB port to access all the data on it. So screen lock is basically a screen lock, it offers almost no security to your precious data.
Best and the most easy way to protect all your data on your phone is by enabling encryption. All your photo, video, docs, email, app data, etc. Will be encrypted and will be somewhat impossible for anyone to access it without the encryption key.
What exactly is encryption?
Encryption is the process of encoding data with a password like key (encryption key) to protect the data. All the data on the phone is actively encrypted with this encryption key when encryption is enabled. This encoded data is meaningless and appears corrupted without proper decryption with the encryption key. So when the encryption is enabled, all the data on the phone is actively encrypted and decrypted with the encryption key as required by the system, everything happens automatically in the background.
How to encrypt your android phone
Before you begin, please fully charge your phone, initial encryption might take up to few hrs. The time depends upon the speed of the phone and also on the amount of data stored in the phone. Also, you don’t want to disturb the phone during encryption, if anything goes wrong you might lose your data.
- First setup screen lock with PIN or Password. Android will use this Pin or Password to encrypt your phone. Without pin or password lock android system won’t allow to encrypt your phone.
- Go to settings >> security >> encrypt phone – Then you will see encryption instructions and “Encrypt Phone” button. Select this “Encrypt Phone” button to start encryption.
- Now you will see the progress bar and it might take some time to complete. After the initial encryption is done and enabled, you will need to put in the PIN or password (encryption key) every time your phone starts (boots).
Some problems with the Encryption
Encryption is disabled on android phones by default because of a reason. If used incorrectly, you might lock yourself out with your own data. Here are the few things which you need to be extra careful when encrypting your Android phones.
- As the data is actively encrypted & decrypted, it slows your phone a bit. Noticeable on slower phones.
- If you lose the encryption password, you will lose all your data.
- Nothing is completely secure, with weak encryption key the security will be weak. Still, it will make your data very expensive and difficult to access.
- There is no rollback option. One need to factory reset the phone to disable the encryption.
Good news for Apple iPhone User
Apple smartly encrypts all your data with the pin lock (screen lock) code. Thus providing basic protection of encryption without the need of manually encrypting the phone.