The modern age of mobility and the ever increasing availability of the Internet has led to an explosion of consumer devices that allow people to stay connected virtually anywhere they have a broadband connection. The desktop computer has nearly become a thing of the past, and it appears as though laptop computers are headed for the same fate. Today, smartphones and tablets are dominating the computing landscape as more and more people trade in their bulky laptops for sleek and stylish tablets.
Although tablets and smartphones operate in much the same way that personal computers do, they also have many aspects that make them different. In some ways, they are less prone to virus infections than their desktop and laptop counterparts, but at the same time they suffer from a different set of security concerns.
Unlike personal computers, today’s tablets and smartphones have an operating system that is somewhat more restrictive. Applications are most commonly installed through an app store, and there is less customization available in many areas of the operating system. This can be both a benefit and a detriment at the same time. A properly configured tablet or smartphone can significantly reduce the risks of a cybercriminal gaining control of your device, however an improperly configured tablet or smartphone can leave the user with a false sense of security and leaving them open to attack.
Here are a few security tips to keep in mind when securing your tablet or smartphone:
Avoid installing applications from outside of an official app store
- Applications found on third-party websites outside of an official app store are quite often laden with viruses. Although there is no guarantee that an application in the app store will not contain a virus, app stores typically have at least a basic level security and application vetting. Applications found on the Internet can include malware implanted by a hacker in order to gain access to your device, so it’s best to stick to a more reliable source.
Consider installing an anti-virus program for your tablet or smartphone
- The vast majority of computer viruses on the Internet target Windows computers, although that trend is slowly changing. It’s a good idea to have an anti-virus program installed on your tablet or smartphone just in case. If you do end up downloading a malicious application from the Internet or an app store, the anti-virus program will help you remove the application before it’s too late. There are many low cost or free anti-virus programs available for all of the most popular mobile platforms.
Review the privacy settings on your device
- It’s important to adjust the privacy settings on your tablet or smartphone. Oftentimes, the settings that come shipped on the device do not adequately protect your privacy. Make sure to go through the settings on a regular basis and disable any settings that expose your private information to applications or websites without your permission.
Enable strong authentication
- The best way to protect your privacy is to limit access to your device. Whether your device is lost, stolen, or simply picked up by a friend or family member, a strong password will prevent unauthorized individuals from accessing your data. Consider setting a strong PIN or Password. An even better option is to use a biometric password (fingerprint) or a complex pattern if these features are available on your device.