Our internet enabled mobile devices has formed an important aspect of our life, in that virtually all the process we undertake today have an electrical/electronic device controlling an aspect. We listen to our favorite music on iPods, MP3 players, phones all devices that have access to the internet. Our mobile phones have slowly become our favorite companions as we enjoy every moment of it interacting with family and loved ones all across the globe over social media. A huge part of work and social media has been made simpler through the use of computers. Unlike in the old days where we use to file the huge stack of papers in large cabinets, today we save millions of files and documents on the hard drives of servers and personal computers. Instead of driving some kilometers to the post office to send a mail across borders that would be received at the other end in a matter of days, if not months, today we send messages easily instantly via the internet connection.
The amount of ease provided by the computer and mobile devices cannot be overemphasized, but just as every other thing in life, whatever has an advantage would also have a disadvantage. Never in history has any process put up as much security risk as the internet does today. The cyber crime impact on society is so huge that governments and private companies are also fighting with it. Lack of a proper security structure guarding this device would put you and your device at risk. Cyber criminals have multiple methods of accessing unsecured device over the internet even without the device owner knowing. There are a lot of things these cyber criminals can do with access to your device, some of which are:
- Access to your personal and business emails.
- Access to your private information such as credit card information, social security number, usernames and passwords, contacts.
- Cybercriminals can keep track of your location in real time with access to your device.
- A malware placed by hackers on your phone may lead to damage or misbehavior of your device. It could even brick your device.
When it comes to what cybercriminals can make out of infecting your device with malicious software, the possibilities are endless. And so it is more than imperative to ensure that these devices are fully secured to enjoy the quality and reliable services the device has to offer.
Below are structures and actions one needs to put in place to ensure adequate security of mobile device and computers to help foster privacy on the internet:
- Ensure software, media files and documents are downloaded from legitimate and trusted sources. Downloading and installing the cracked version of paid applications would place your device at the risk of malicious software. Hackers usually use these legitimate applications to transport Trojans that are very harmful to your computers. And so as you install and grant the downloaded application access to the resources present on your computer so also are you granting the malicious software access to your computer resources. Devices running on the Android, IOS, Nokia and Windows OS have application stores where genuine developers post both free and paid applications for you to download.
- Doubt everything you find on the internet: Cyber criminals know that some internet users are not savvy enough to differentiate between genuine and fake sites. And so they leverage on this weakness to build websites that would act as a clone to the original websites. Whatever action one takes on such website exposes the individual to security risks. And so whenever you are on a website that does not look genuine, please waste no more time on it, close it and try other websites. Before sharing personal information on any website, always look out for whether what comes before the link of the website is HTTP/HTTPS. If it is on HTTP and you are on a login page or a page requiring you to type in your personal information, please close the site and avoid further interaction with the website. This is because the HTTPS certificate is given to only trust websites on the internet to help ensure your personal information is not intercepted over the internet.
- Download an antimalware and antivirus software: This would help protect your device from attacks and also help get rid of attacks already on the system. By scanning through the many files on your device one after the other, the software would detect the suspicious software in real time.
- Keep device operating system, antivirus software, browser software and antimalware software up to date at all times: Cybercriminals spend a lot of time trying to find loop holes in the security of new software updates so they can leverage on the vulnerabilities to build more malicious software to cause more harm to the user. Likewise, so also are the software developers also running various tests and researching loopholes to boost the security of their software, once they find vulnerabilities in the software, they take immediate action in curbing it. Once the vulnerabilities of the old software have been discovered and tackled, the software company would, therefore, release the new software to the consumer as an update. Whenever you update your computer, you are most likely downloading a more secure, less vulnerable version of the software. Shortly after the new version is released, hackers would begin working on the loopholes of the version and so the cycle continues. Hence, the need to constantly update your computer.
- Use security hardware like Bit defender box to protect devices connected to your network: The box is connected to the router and so it monitors incoming and outgoing traffic in the network. Whenever a new device is connected it takes notes and also monitors every data packets entering leaving each device. The box acts as a firewall and an antivirus, a firewall in the sense that it does not allow suspicious packet of data into the network and as an antivirus in the sense that when a device is misbehaving and sending out unusual packets of data, the box would isolate the device in the network preventing it from infecting the other devices connected to the network.
It is essential for your own privacy to be security savvy, hence take note of the tips given above and follow them diligently in order to stay safe in the risky environment of the internet.