Keeping Your Mobile Device Safe When Surfing the Internet

Someone accessing the internet from their tablet

Mobile phones have become a gadget that humans cannot do without today. Computer technology has revolutionized entire industries and made us reliant on mobile devices. If you own a smartphone, you’d want to connect to the internet to enjoy the entire experience.

Nevertheless, connecting to the internet with your mobile device exposes you to several cyber threats. Statistics show that 2, 200 cyber-attacks occur every day, on an average of 39 seconds. In the last couple of years, digital attacks have increased exponentially due to the amount of data on devices.

Suppose you use your mobile device for various activities like communication, work, and financial services. In that case, you’re more susceptible to digital attacks. Protecting your device includes different methods like installing an antivirus and monitoring your emails better.

Signs That Your Mobile Device Has Been Hacked

Mobile devices can get hacked or infected with malware in several ways. The most common include downloading cloned apps online, downloading infected email attachments, and utilizing obsolete software.

A hacker
A hacker

When most mobile devices are hacked, sometimes the owners don’t notice any change when using the device. Nevertheless, you might come across some signs of infection, like an increase in mobile data usage even though you’re not surfing the internet much.

Other symptoms include the drainage of the battery at a quicker rate, slowed-down performance on your device, and new apps installed without your permission. You can also experience a sign like frequent and unexplained pop-ups.

However, experiencing one or more signs doesn’t mean your device has been hacked. You’ll have to delve deeper to ensure the sign isn’t a natural result of your activity.

Ways To Protect Your Smartphone When Browsing the Internet

Illustration of Cybersecurity

Here are some ways to protect your mobile device when browsing on the internet:

Download Anti-Malware Software

Anti-malware programs can help in freeing up your mobile device of malicious software. Furthermore, they act as defense programs, preventing malware or programs with suspicious signatures from entering your device. The best anti-malware option is paid software.

Be Wary of Public Wi-Fi

It is a well-known fact that travelers like to connect to public Wi-Fi to conserve data costs. If you’re using public Wi-Fi, you could potentially expose your device to hackers.

Hackers typically place themselves in the middle of a connection between a public Wi-Fi network and the devices connected to it. This way, they can access sensitive information like the activity on users’ devices.

You need to be conscious of the free Wi-Fi you use. You’d best turn off your Wi-Fi, so you don’t get connected automatically to Wi-Fi that can expose your data.

Choose Strong Passwords

Passwords provide access to every account on the internet. Before hackers try sophisticated means to gain access to an account, they first try to guess the password of an account. That’s why it’s always recommended to avoid easy passwords such as ‘password,’ 123456, or passwords related to your username.

Choose strong passwords. A strong password should contain at least eight characters with symbols and numbers.

In addition, ensure that you use different passwords for your social network accounts. If you have concerns about forgetting your passwords, you can use a good password manager to save all your different passwords.

You can also add more layers of security in the form of two-factor authentication. Two-factor authentication enables you to verify your identity with an OTP (one-time password) sent to an authentication app (Microsoft Authenticator or Google Authenticator), email address, or mobile phone number.

Use a VPN

A VPN (virtual private network) acts as a barrier or bridge between your local device and an internet server. For example, connecting to a public Wi-Fi will leave your data vulnerable. But with a VPN, you can securely connect to any network. Furthermore, a VPN allows you to bypass government restrictions and censorship.

Only Make Purchases From Secure or Reputable Sites

When making purchases online, you will be required to provide your credit card or bank information to complete payment. Your bank information or card details are pure gold in cybercriminals’ hands. That’s why it’s always advisable only to purchase items from reputable and safe sites.

If you are unsure if a website is reputable, look for a padlock symbol close to the site’s URL field in your browser. Check if the web address starts with https or http. The padlock symbol and ‘s’ in ‘https’ indicate that your data on the website is encrypted and secure.

Be Wary of What You Download

Cybercriminals are always looking for loopholes to exploit in your device. That’s why they design files (including apps and programs) embedded with viruses and malware and trick you into downloading them.

Only download apps from official stores —Apple stores for iOS operating systems like iPhones and iPads. Google Play Store for Android devices.

Always scan every pdf or attachment you download from the internet before opening it. If it’s from an unknown source, you can delete it.

Adjust Your Privacy Settings

Several social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, provide privacy settings. You can adjust it to determine the kind of information you’ll disclose to the public. You can toggle these settings to hide your email address, location, and other personal information. Many browsers also have privacy settings. It’s advisable to adjust these settings to secure yourself on the internet.

Watch Out for Social Engineering Scams

Social engineering scams are those scams perpetrated by hackers that intend to gain your trust to get you to reveal sensitive information. Most social engineering scammers require financial information or social media details from victims.

The most common form of social engineering is phishing, where an email with an urgent message is sent to a victim. You’d be prompted to take action and click on the link in the email that leads you to a cloned page.

Plugging your details into the cloned website will reveal your details to the hacker, who then uses it to access your account. To prevent social engineering scams, you need to avoid giving your information to some stranger on the internet.

You also need to scrutinize the email addresses that send messages to you. Avoid clicking on links in emails until you verify that they lead to the correct URL address. You can confirm this by comparing the link to the one in the URL address bar.

Final Thoughts

People depend heavily on mobile devices for several processes. This has increased cyber-attacks. The signs that your mobile device has been hacked include drainage of mobile data, frequent pop-ups, and unexplained performance reduction.

To protect your device, watch out for social engineering scams, be wary of public Wi-Fi, be wary of what you download, choose strong passwords, adjust your privacy settings, use a VPN, only purchase items from safe or secure sites, and download anti-malware software.

About Author

  • Princewill M

    Princewill Monday is a versatile freelance writer and tech enthusiast who has a bachelor's degree in Engineering. He enjoys exploring the world through writing, taking everyone along for the ride. He's also passionate about helping businesses grow their audience through SEO-friendly content. When he's not writing, he will watch Sci-fi movies, watch his beloved football team (Liverpool FC) play, or read novels.