Safe Mobile Browsing Tips for New Users THE Tech Scoop March 24, 2013 Tech Mobile browsers are incredibly useful because they allow you to surf the Web from anywhere. At the same time, many tests have shown that mobile browsers aren’t as safe as their desktop equivalents. You can still be safe online, but you have to keep several things in mind to ensure that you don’t accidentally infect your smartphone or tablet. These tips should keep you safe from viruses and malware. Internet Connection Most mobile devices can connect to the provider’s proprietary network and routers for wireless connectivity. Routers aren’t necessarily bad, but be careful of which ones you connect to. Connecting to a router in your home is safe, but connecting to a public router at a coffee shop can compromise your safety. This is because hackers can easily see what you are doing online. They can also inject viruses into the connection to infect your device. If you have to choose between a router or the provider’s network, then connect to the network. This connection is much safer. If you can’t connect to the network for some reason, then use a VPS app to protect your Internet connection. Update the Device Hackers are always learning new ways to exploit your device’s OS or browser so that they can easily infect your device. At the same time, new updates are constantly being made to make the software resilient to these attacks. Most people skip software updates because they don’t lead to noticeable changes, but the fact is that most of the changes are occurring within the program’s coding. The coding is being rearranged and updated so that hackers have a harder time attacking your device. If you want to stay safe online, then keep your device updated so that simple OS and browser exploits will not affect you. Unsafe Links Many hackers use social engineering tactics to spread their viruses. This has become much easier with smartphones and tablets because these devices are often integrated with several social media apps. The hacker will either pose as your friend or he or she will hack one of your friends’ accounts. Then the hacker will post a link to everyone connected to the account. Anyone that clicks on this link is in danger of being infected. This may not seem very effective, but the truth is that about 33 to 50 percent of people claim to have clicked a link from a friend without researching the link first. Never click a link without verifying it first. You can do this with an antivirus app. Antivirus Apps Antivirus apps can do much more than verify links. Many mobile device users are vulnerable to viruses because they don’t have anything to stop them. If a virus infects your device, then you might be helpless. It’s best to download an antivirus app as soon as possible so that it can remove any malware that is accidentally downloaded to your device. Most of these apps have a monthly or yearly bill, but it’s worth it because they will keep your device safe. Downloading Apps Be careful when downloading apps. This is especially true for Android users because it’s very easy to download and install apps from random websites. Many apps make Internet browsing easier because they link directly to certain websites, but the ugly truth is that some of these apps are only made to steal your information. For example, you might be handing your password to a hacker without even knowing it. While there are many interesting and unique apps that can be found online, it’s best to exclusively download apps for your device’s official app marketplace. For example, only use Apple’s App Store or Android’s Play Store. You should still scan the apps with your antivirus program to ensure they are safe because some viruses can get through, but the vast majority will be fine. Conclusion Mobile browsers aren’t as safe as desktop browsers, but you can avoid any problems if you just follow these tips. Staying safe requires a little more effort, but it’s not as difficult as you might think. Just download an antivirus app, be sure to scan every new link or app and keep your device updated. If you do this, then you should have no problems steering clear of viruses and malware. Sarah Hendricks is a security expert on protecting users and businesses from hackers and data leakage. Users in the office, at home, or working remotely are all subject to attack. Sarah has teamed up with NQ.com: Mobile antivirus to keep mobile devices protected nation wide!