When it comes to web browsing, security is a prime concern. Whether surfing the web for social media, paying bills, banking, or online shopping, there are a few security considerations to keep in mind when using your mobile devices and desktop. Without following proper practices, your identity and financial information can be exposed and collected by malicious third parties. Due to differences in their programming, mobile security threats differ from computer security threats. Here’s how you can understand the differences and mitigate your risks when browsing online.
How do mobile security risks compare to desktop security risks?
Mobile operating systems utilize multiple resources online all the time, yet they are not always vulnerable to the same viruses as desktop operating systems. Some malicious attacks target Android based devices while others target iOS devices. Yet those attacks are system specific. Mobile browsers are not perfect and can contain security flaws which lead to malicious code using the same resources the browser has access information such as contacts and stored data. However, for malicious code to inhibit and extend past boundaries and enter memory space requires advanced techniques.
Some security professionals trust a desktop more than a mobile device because they know the ins and outs of desktop security but are unfamiliar with mobile device security. Security is currently easier to layer on PCs than on mobile devices. Desktop endpoint security is difficult to configure on mobile devices other than physical security such as passwords and PINs.
Context-aware network security introduces a fine line between PC and mobile security. Context-aware security introduces security and software to endpoint protection, which can blur lines between mobile and PC security. Network security depends on the capability to scan network traffic. Cloud computing blurs the lines even further with both mobile and desktop devices accessing the same files from the same location. Cloud computing breaks down the barriers of a PC’s security perimeter. Accessing cloud based applications from a mobile device requires network security for computers accessing the data and application security for how the apps operate in the same environment.
What can you do to avoid problems on both your mobile devices and desktop computers?
Strong passwords for both types of devices is the first step. Whenever possible, set different passwords for the same site on your mobile device from your desktop. Many banks how feature fingerprint sign in for mobile banking apps, which adds a layer of security separate from your desktop login. Biometric security is being introduced more often with mobile devices than PCs because the technology can be built into the app itself.
Use strong passwords and a different password for every secure site you use. While this may sound difficult, if your email is compromised, your social media account is vulnerable as well if using the same password for both. (There’s a tip here – don’t use the same password for different accounts) Change passwords often for your online bank accounts and regularly for social media and email accounts. While this may sound like an annoyance, the added protection saves you the heartache if any of your accounts become compromised.
How can mobile users protect themselves?
Mobile users should use public WiFi with caution. While convenient and free, public WiFi networks re unencrypted and open. Whenever using public WiFi, never login to your financial accounts, and never make online purchases. Always access sensitive accounts from the safety of your own home because public WiFi networks should be treated as though someone is always scanning them with malicious intent.
If you choose to use public WiFi, you can protect your data through a Virtual Private Network (VPN). You can install a VPN on your mobile devices, which will protect you against the risks of public WiFi. VPNs encrypt the internet connection and provide a secure tunnel for accessing the web. Contact your mobile device carrier to see if they offer VPNs.
Use the lock, locate, and swipe features on your smartphones and tablets. Always protect your devices as though they could be stolen or lost at any moment. By using these features, you are adding a layer of physical security to your physical device. This protection also keeps nosy children and friends off your personal device.
What can users do to protect themselves as they browse on desktop?
Securing your PC to protect your privacy is challenging but possible. First, take note of your operating system. Are you an Apple or Windows user? Your computer came preloaded with a certain operating system when you purchased it. Many PCs come preloaded with Windows while Macs come loaded with the latest Mac OS X.
Remain vigilant against spam on all devices
Regardless if you are browsing the web with your smartphones, tablets, laptops, or desktops you should always delete spam. Spam may seem like just an annoyance, however; it introduces a world of vulnerabilities to any device. Spam targets everyone on any device whether it is in the form of email or text. Spam categories span heath, medicine, computers, finance, education, adult content, political content, and even antispam content itself. The threats are out there, you just need to be aware and apply some of the tips mentioned above to protect yourself.