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Can Android phones be hacked?

Please stop clicking sketchy links.

android phone on table
Image: Unsplash

Google’s Android mobile operating system is designed for layered security, so every part of the ecosystem makes your device more secure. From the new Google Play Protect malware defense that scans all the apps on your phone, to Find My Device, which lets you track your phone if lost (or even wipe it remotely), the operating system is inherently secure.

But -and it’s a big but – we see news stories on the regular that talk about malware on the Google Play Store, hacks into popular apps like WhatsApp, and nation-state actors monitoring people through their smartphones. Is Android really that secure? Can it be hacked?

So, can Android phones get hacked?

Short answer: Yes

See, while Android is inherently secure, your specific handset might not be. A recent report from Which? says that over 40 percent of Android users worldwide are using Android 6.0 or earlier, and none of those phones got a single security patch in 2019. That’s a lot of unpatched, security-hole-riddled handsets, right?

Well… yes and no. The operating system is still designed with multiple layers of security, and providing the user doesn’t do anything risky, they’re probably fine. Stick to apps from the Google Play Store, back up your data, don’t click on links in SMS or MMS messages (especially if they say you’ve won something), and install a mobile anti-virus app, which will then check things like installed apps to weed out any malware.

What do you think? Have you ever had any issues with your smartphone being hacked? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Maker, meme-r, and unabashed geek with nearly half a decade of blogging experience at KnowTechie, SlashGear and XDA Developers. If it runs on electricity (or even if it doesn't), Joe probably has one around his office somewhere, with particular focus in gadgetry and handheld gaming. Shoot him an email at

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