By now, you probably know that the Internet is a communication network that allows almost all of the computers in the world to connect. This is the beauty and the curse of it: there are unlimited resources that can be found on the Internet but it also exposes people to a lot of safety and identity theft issues. I know that I myself am guilty of not being especially safe about which Internet connection I use or what information I am sending through that connection.
“Although we leave traces of our personal lives with our credit cards and Web browsers today, tomorrow's mobile devices will broadcast clouds of personal data to invisible monitors all around us.” -Howard Rheingold
Because the use of mobile devises continues to grow significantly, I would like to offer some tips on mobile safety, along with how to stay safe no matter what Internet connection you use.
- The easiest way to keep a mobile device safe and clean is to keep the security software up-to-date and current. Having the latest mobile security software and web browsers on all your devices that use the Internet is the best defense against viruses and malware.
- Protect personal information. Using a passcode on your phone or other mobile device is crucial to protecting any information that can be found there.
- Be sure to review privacy policies before installing apps and ensure that the information that the app can access does not give away your personal details.
- Clear away any information from your device that is not absolutely necessary—this will help improve functionality but also make less information about you available from that device.
- When using a public Internet spot that is unsecured, be sure to limit the type of work or business that you are doing on that network. It’s ideal to reserve online banking or shopping for private networks that you know are secure.
- However, if you are doing online banking or shopping over a public Internet connection, ensure that the sites are secured. An easy way to check is to look at the web address. One that begins with “https://” or “shttps://” is secure.
- If all of this sounds like gobbledygook to you, then ask someone you trust—whether a family member, friend or professional—to help you implement these tips.
This may not seem important to all of our readers, but many of us have at least some contact with the Internet and mobile devices. Consider that:
- The use of mobile devices that access the Internet has increased by 67% worldwide, over the past 12 months.
- 90% of American adults own a cell phone.
- 32% of American adults own an e-reader.
- 42% of American adults own a tablet computer.
- Among people aged 50-64, 88% use the Internet.
- Among people aged 65 or older, 57% use the Internet.
- Internet usage increases exponentially in younger age groups.
It is crucial to protect ourselves and our families from Internet threats. Get informed on how to take care of personal information and learn how to assist your family in protecting themselves. These are useful tools to have. Hopefully, these tips will help get you started off on the right foot!