Tech Tips

Browsing The Web Safely on Your Smartphone

As technology and the internet become ever more embedded into the modern world, each new step we take becomes as treacherous as it is exciting.

The digital realm is a hub of knowledge, feeding our need to connect to the world around us. Unfortunately, it has also become a hive of malicious viruses, scams, and hackers trying to take advantage of the denizens of cyberspace and poach their information from literally right under their noses.

While these dangers formerly preyed exclusively on traditional computers, as technology evolved, so too did the methods of those wishing to exploit it.

Smartphones are the new targets as over 80% of internet users own a smartphone. With that kind of coverage, it’s no wonder villains have shifted their aim to the pocket-sized computers we carry around with us 24/7.

But fear not, dear reader. It is, after all, the age of information; knowledge will be your greatest defense against any threat lurking in the shadows of the web.

 

Know Thy Enemy

There is no shortage of pitfalls while browsing the internet. Knowing what they are and how they work will go a long way towards being able to avoid them.

Unsecured Wi-Fi Networks

Though it may be tempting to save data usage by connecting to public Wi-Fi networks, these hotspots could be crawling with potential threats to your phone’s security. By accessing them, you could be exposing your phone to hackers who have tapped into the network.

Malware from Applications

Not every application you download is safe; especially if it doesn’t come from your phone’s official app store. Whenever you download ANYTHING to your device, be sure to consider it in detail. Foreign applications can contain all manner of malware that hackers can use to get access to your personal information.

Phishing Sites

A foreign prince wants to give you millions of dollars in gold! Just follow this quick link to help him out!

Sound familiar?

All to often, unsuspecting people will get baited into email scams with promises of money or unique services. These emails will usually have an air of urgency about them, pressuring you to click on the links they send. These links often lead to websites designed to extract vital information from you or place malware on your device.

Free Download Scams

Many seemingly innocent websites can actually be wolves in sheep’s clothing. If you’re on your smartphone and a popup randomly appears offering a free download, you should ignore and close it immediately.

Never download any program that mysteriously presents itself to you out of nowhere. The odds of it containing a virus are high.

 

Preemptively Preparing for Potential Problems

While the list of malevolent trap doors extends far beyond even the list above, there are numerous ways to protect your phone from all of them.

First things first, always set a strong password lock on your phone. Not only will this deter real world nasties from accessing your info, it can go a long way towards keeping hackers out as well.

Next, be sure to encrypt the data storage on your phone. This process stores your phone’s information as unreadable, garbled data. Once you enter in the proper password or PIN number, the data become unencrypted and you can access it. This is yet one more layer of security standing between your precious information and those trying to pilfer it.

While you’re at it, make sure you also back up all of your data on a separate device, just in case.

If possible, avoid jailbreaking your smartphone. While the idea of breaking the rules and accessing cool new features seems tantalizing at first, jailbreaking your phone requires taking away certain protective measures. Removing safety barriers from around your device is like inviting a vampire into your home. It’s best to leave that door closed.

Using anonymous payment methods while buying items online can keep your payment information from being nabbed by probing miscreants. For example, using prepaid debit or credit cards makes it futile for a cyberthief to try and steal your info, as they can’t trace your actual accounts through the disposable cards.

While this might seem obvious, taking the time to check the apps you download can be a powerful tool in preventing cyberattack. Some phone apps that you download straight from the web can contain viruses, malware, or worse. Always do some research on the app you plan on downloading before doing so. Even a quick Google search to confirm the app’s legitimacy can keep you out of harm’s way.

Lastly, downloading and using a VPN (Virtual Private network) for your smartphone makes anything you do over the web more secure.

When you connect to the web through a VPN, your actions are sent through to worldwide servers that assign you a proxy IP address. While using this proxy IP, you can appear to be accessing the web from a different country entirely.

Additionally, your data is encrypted as you browse, placing another level of security around your internet activity and making it incredibly difficult to track your actions or mess with your information. This makes using public Wi-Fi networks that much safer.

Even with a VPN, it is still best to be extra careful when sending or receiving important pieces of info. While they do act as a potent shield against prying eyes, they aren’t infallible.

Combatting Problems After They Strike

You were careful. You made sure to browse with extra caution and you even set up a VPN.

But it happened. Your phone was accessed and now your information is laid bare to a malevolent cyberpirate.

What now?

Don’t worry, all is not lost! At least not permanently.

If your device is linked up to the Cloud, there are programs that can let you remotely wipe the device. This means that even if someone manages to crack your phone’s security and break in, they’ll find it totally devoid of useful data.

In the same vein, you can set your phone to automatically delete all of its data if the password is incorrectly entered too many times. While the odds of you wrongly entering your passcode more than once or twice is extremely slim, a hacker can fail it multiple times before finally finding their way inside. This precaution ensures that when they do get in, there’s nothing for them to steal.

If you’ve backed up all of your data to the Cloud or a separate device, you can easily restore your phone to its original state, free of any viruses or interlopers. It’s important to make sure your vital information is stored in other places besides your phone, just in case.

As an additional security measure, many Android devices can download a multitude of antivirus apps that clean harmful digital pathogens off your device. Running frequent virus scans makes sure you’re never caught off guard by an insidious virus or piece of malware.

If you ever even think someone might have a hold of your payment information, immediately cancel any credit or debit cards you believe are compromised. Nothing’s worse than seeing a mysterious charge on your credit card bill, so it’s best to cancel as soon as you catch wind of the theft.

 

The Importance of Staying Up-to-Date

By keeping your smartphone updated with its latest software offerings, you can fortify its defenses even further.

Each new update attempts to fix prior issues that users experience, including potential security gaps, which makes staying current a good idea.

Even with these high-tech precautions, failsafes, and countermeasures, the most effective method of repelling cyberattacks is probably the simplest: Do your homework.

The internet is a treasure trove of information. These days, if you want to know something, knowledge is just a few keystrokes away. By frequently researching potential digital threats and precautions against them, you stay one step ahead of those who would take advantage of the ignorant.

Knowledge is power, and it’s never been easier to obtain. Be sure to use it.

Who to call if Your Q Link Phone has Issues

As always, if you ever find that your Q Link smartphone is having mysterious problems and you find yourself stumped, be sure to contact us right away.

No one knows our phones better than we do, and we’ll be able to immediately figure out if there’s something wrong with yours. Give us a call today and we’ll get you back on track and ready to go.

Happy browsing, and stay safe!