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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

3 Ways to Protect Your Personal Data on Your Smartphone

When it comes to browsing online, people aren’t booting up their computers anymore; they’re browsing sites and scrolling through social media with their phones.

According to the latest stats, smartphones take more than 60% of all online traffic. As mobile technology gets better and cheaper, this number will surely grow. After all, the smartphone that can come anywhere with you is a much more convenient option than a clunky laptop or tethered desktop.

But in order to cashing on the convenience of mobile browsing, you have to share a lot of data on this device. It’s important you protect this data to make it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.

1. Be Wary of Free Wi-Fi and Hotspots

Free Wi-Fi often comes from an unsecured network without any security measures. That means anyone in range can access these networks to use the Internet.

While most people will hop on to check Instagram or Google Maps, there’s a risk someone joins the network to eavesdrop on your online activity. These hackers know how to hijack the shared connection so that they can spy on personal information you share over websites and apps.

You probably don’t have to worry about being hacked if you plan on checking the weather using this network. However, you should wait until you’re on a secured network to pay bills, apply for short term personal loans, or log into your tax account.

If you’re out and about and need to borrow money now, you might be willing to risk it, thinking your chance of getting hacked is low. Unfortunately, it’s never zero, and that’s too much risk for your finances.

2. Beef Up Your Home Network

While your home network is the safest way to apply for loans online or pay bills, it still has some vulnerabilities, and it’s all thanks to your router.

Popular routers provided by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and electronic stores are easily compromised. Anyone can find your router’s default name and password online, making it a cinch to hack.

There’s also the Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) feature that allows people to bypass your network password and connect to the Internet, making it just as risky as any free Wi-Fi, if engaged.

To keep your at-home banking and browsing safe, make the following changes to your home router:

  • Change its default username and password
  • Change the default network name in a way that doesn’t identify you
  • Accept automatic firmware updates to patch vulnerabilities
  • Turn on WPA2 wireless encryption so that only authorized users can join your network

3. Browse the Internet with Firefox over Chrome

Whether you’re paying off an online loan or reading the news, any activity that isn’t hosted on an app happens over a browser. Today, most people use Chrome, with Google’s browser accounting for nearly half (49.2%) of all Internet browser market share.

Despite Chrome being more popular, Firefox winds up being more secure. In fact, it beats out most other browsers because of its outstanding security and privacy credentials, including anti-tracking protection that blocks malicious content.

Switch to Firefox to get these protections for yourself.

The Takeaway:

Your phone might host a lot of data when you use it for everyday browsing and banking. But it doesn’t have to be vulnerable. Switch to Firefox, protect your router, and avoid free Wi-Fi when doing financial chores. These tips will help reduce your risk of fraud.

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