These days, not many people use PCs to surf the internet anymore. Tablets and smartphones can be a more convenient option and now offer enough speed to enjoyably visit your favorite websites.
Manufacturers are starting to increase the overall size of their smartphones as well, coining a new term for their phones known as “phablet.”
Phablets typically have a screen size between 5.3 and 6.99 inches. It’s large enough to comfortably view the details (such as the text, but also photos) of websites without having to zoom in. Because of its size, it’s also great for watching videos and movies.
Even with smartphones offering an internet experience similar to that of your tablet and PC, is it actually safe to use them to surf the web?
The safety of your device really depends on you. If you take the proper security measures to ensure that your personal information won’t be compromised while you’re connected to the internet, it can be pretty safe to surf the web on your smartphone. The same goes for any device that connects to the internet.
When trying to avoid security issues online, security apps are the most important tools you can use to ensure your safety. However, they can’t always protect you from everything, so you’ll need to know some other ways you can avoid scammers and malware on the net as well.
First, Install Those Apps!
Like your PC, you can install similar apps to protect your security. An anti-virus app will be helpful, as sometimes viruses are lurking even in the apps you download, and an anti-virus app will be able to pick up on this when you download. Anti-virus apps are easy to find by just searching the app store on your smartphone.
Whenever you do your search though, be sure to read reviews and the user permissions before downloading the app. If possible, stick to a brand you’re familiar with. Many of the companies that offer anti-virus programs for your PC also have a free mobile app available.
After you have your anti-virus app installed, it would be wise to head back to the app store on your phone to find a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
In basic terms, a VPN is a remote server that acts as a secure tunnel through which your internet traffic is routed. VPNs have a strong encryption and also mask your IP address, which essentially hides your location.
Since smartphones connect to public WiFi regularly, a VPN can make all the difference in protecting your security. The problem with public WiFi is that it is an unsecured network, and the general public is able to access it.
When the general public has access to the same internet connection as you, it’s easy for hackers to get into your device and spy on your activities or steal your personal information.
VPNs allow you to keep your connection secure, no matter where you’re accessing the internet from.
Take Caution with Hyperlinks
Security apps will do a lot, but there are still a few things you should be wary of when you’re using the net. One of these things is hyperlinks. Sometimes these links can send you to a malicious website that intends to set you up with malware, hack into your accounts, or steal your information.
Hyperlinks can appear just about anywhere on your smartphone: in apps, text messages, the app store, websites, email, etc. Sometimes they might be disguised as a familiar website, but when you click on them, you’ll be sent elsewhere.
On some smartphones, you’ll be able to tap on the link without opening it by holding down for a few seconds instead of just giving it a quick tap.
A screen should appear on your phone that tells you the actual URL of the hyperlink, so you can avoid opening the page if it appears to be an unfamiliar site. It’s important to do this whenever you are faced with a hyperlink that you’re unsure of because even if the link appears to have been sent from a familiar contact, it could actually be that your contact has had their account hacked.
A simple way you can secure your internet session even further is by looking through your passwords and identifying whether or not they are considered strong or weak. Strong passwords consist of both lowercase and uppercase letters, some numbers, and symbols when possible. They should also be at least eight characters in length and never used across multiple accounts.
Reusing your passwords for more than one account can make it easier for hackers to gain access to them. Also, never use any personal information as your password or anything that might be easy for someone to guess.
Avoid Leaving Your Device Unattended
Since your smartphone tends to hold loads of personal information, it’s best to know where it is at all times and avoid leaving it unattended. Locking your screen with a password can help, but the closer it is to you, the better. When you’re using the internet on your phone, it’s not uncommon to forget to log out of your online accounts or to even allow your web browser to remember your passwords and usernames.
If someone else happens to get a hold of your phone, that information will be basically out in the open for them. Luckily, some of the free anti-virus apps do have an anti-theft protection that will help you find your phone if it ever does go missing, but you might not always realize right away that your phone has been stolen. By the time you do, the thief could have already taken down all of your info.
Another thing you should know is that smartphones have you logged into an account 24/7, so if anyone does get your phone, they’ll automatically have access to at least that account, even if you have logged out of your other ones.
Stick To Trusted Sites
Whenever possible, it’s best to use the websites you are already familiar with. Though this is not always probable when surfing the net, it can save you some trouble. Another way you can avoid security issues is to only download apps from the app store on your phone, instead of downloading them from websites.
No matter which device you are using at the time to connect to the internet, there will always be some security risks involved. However, you can prevent them for the most part as long as you use security apps and follow the additional tips covered in this article. Internet security is largely dependent on you and your own actions, which is why it’s imperative that you know how to safely browse the net in order to protect your personal information.
Being aware of internet security tips can actually save you both money and time by prolonging the lifespan of your device. If you also take into consideration the heaps of stress that come along with identity theft or the ruin of your device, the small effort of putting some of these security tips to use is well worth it!