The latest research suggests that more than half of global web traffic now comes from mobile devices. While this is hardly a surprising statistic, there are implications for security that many smartphone users do not consider. When these devices first came into general use, they had built-in security that made them much safer than a desktop to access online material. In the intervening years cybercriminals have focused their efforts on breaching mobile safety protocols, but users are still much less likely to have antimalware on mobile than on desktop.
Click-through rates are also higher on mobile, possibly because of how easy it is to tap the small screen with a finger. Data suggests that mobile users are much more likely to take up the offer to click here for instant withdrawal casinos than if they were using desktop. We collectively exercise a little less caution when surfing on our smartphones. So where are the biggest threats, and what should we be doing to protect ourselves?
Don’t trust public networks
Many of us like to be connected all the time, and it’s very convenient to connect to the closest public access network so that you can surf, send messages or look up information. Some of these may have good security protocols included, but always assume that they don’t. Never access sensitive data like internet banking when on a public network. You can take other steps, like using a VPN that encrypts all your data and also hides your IP address. Consider a change of web browser as well. There are many good ones now available that automatically block ads and tracking software.
Be cautious with connectivity
We can connect and pair our smartphones with a multitude of other devices, and it’s very tempting to do so. It certainly makes things more convenient. But added convenience is one of the most significant ways that we sacrifice our online security. Apps like AirDrop for iOS or Nearby Share for Android should be deactivated most of the time, unless you are actively using them. The same goes for Bluetooth and WiFi. An easy way to make sure that your mobile is not connected is to keep it in airplane mode when not in use.
The most dangerous malware to infect mobiles is delivered by malicious apps, since the architects of the software have naturally targeted this as a way to get into devices. The number one rule here is to only ever download apps from the official store provided by your OS. Even then, it is best to do a few minutes of research before you decide to install a new app. All apps potentially have access to a lot of your data, so think carefully and read up to spot potential red flags.
Use mobile security software
Most of us know that we need security software on desktop, but we are much less inclined to install it on our smartphones. While it may not be entirely necessary if we are taking the correct precautions, it adds a layer of safety and removes the risk should we make a mistake. Some also have password managers that take away the headache of remembering multiple secure passcodes and phrases.
Be careful of unknown contacts
Phishing scams come via email, and increasingly from SMS and messaging apps as well. Be cautious with any link that you are sent, and especially anything received from an unknown contact. Resist the urge to tap the screen before checking if it could be a scam to get access to your personal data.
These are just a few of the ways that we can keep our mobile browsing safe. Of course, there are other general measures that you should always be taking, like making use of the fingerprint or face ID features and making sure the system is always up to date. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.