In two years, internet traffic (IP traffic) from wireless devices will exceed traffic from wired devices. With greater percentages of total global web traffic originating from mobile devices (this includes both smartphones and tablets), it’s time bust out your inner Kevin McAllister and step up your defense game. Ever notice how there’s no McAfee or Symantec on the average person’s iPhone or Kindle Fire? That means it’s partly up to you to make use of best internet security practices when going mobile. Here are just a few tips:
Connecting Over Unsecure/Public Wi-Fi:
Right now, major mobile carriers have abolished the old unlimited data options and are charging plenty of money every month for very small caps of usage. 3 GB just doesn’t cut it anymore, what with all the streaming services that have become a normal part of everyday web use. So, now more than ever, everyone is more meticulous than ever about making sure they’re connected to every wireless network and hotspot possible. And if you can find one that doesn’t require a password, even better, right? Well, not quite. You never know who you’re sharing that network with and for what purpose they’re using it. Additionally, hijackers can gain access to your device via apps with certain security vulnerabilities. Bottom line: if you can get access to the password by walking up and asking the barista, do it; it’s better than taking a risk on that sketchy open network, ‘BOBS_DEN,’ that’s open nearby.
Use That Passlock Feature:
I cannot stress this enough. It is a rather simple but effective way to ward off unnecessary hackings. For the slight nuisance of having to thumb-in four digits every time you pick up your phone (and this is even being relieved by new technologies such as the 5S’ finger scanner), you can soak in the dividends like peace of mind when your phone goes missing, knowing that no one can snoop through your contents and providing yourself with a nice buffer period to attempt to track the device down–or wipe it remotely.
Careful with That Bluetooth!:
Bluetooth is a really great feature that allows you to invisibly (wirelessly, really, but it sounds much cooler this way) stream content to a number of powerful devices (first, home stereo systems; now, cars) from something as singular as your pocket-sized smartphone. Bluetooth is also annoyingly vulnerable. While I would never leave mine on (total battery hog on my already-weak-iPhone 4S), I know many people that do, either because they have headsets for work, driving, home stereo systems or any combination of peripheral devices that incorporate the technology. Leaving Bluetooth on could make your device discoverable to someone shady who is looking to hack unwitting users. The best practice here is to turn that Bluetooth off when you’re not directly using it. Period.