Smartphones have completely changed the game with mobile connectivity. Cellular phone technology has rapidly evolved in the last decade, going from slim flip phones to touch screen wonders in rapid succession. The sophistication of this technology has spawned exponential creativity in software development and hardware adaptations, with facial recognition cameras and fitness apps that fit seamlessly into our busy and increasingly social lives.
The world has never been more available, and the masses are always clamoring for the latest editions of the hottest technology. With prices keeping this technology within reach for everyone, and free upgrades tempting even the most frugal of us to keep the latest phone in our pocket, everyone from teenagers to seniors are now carrying a smartphone, and most of us, without truly realizing just how connected we really are.
This massively available network has opened major holes in our personal security, and with a technology that’s far more advanced than most of us are capable of truly wrapping our brains around, it’s easy to let our eagerness to stay connected get the best of us.
With the advent of this technology, fraud and identity theft rates have skyrocketed, as hackers have capitalized on the abundance of personal information constantly being exchanged through cyberspace. With apps constantly running in the background, and the complex network of information sharing that goes on between companies, it can be incredibly difficult to keep a handle on your personal information, and make sure that you’re the only one getting access to it.
Malware protection is something that now exists for smartphones, and is an excellent option for protecting yourself from hidden packages of malicious software in downloads. The same great protection people get for their desktops is now available in security apps for your smartphone, with malware scanners to protect your device from suspicious files.
However, malware and security software only goes so far. It may protect your device from encountering nasty phishing software, but it does little to protect the continual stream of information over a Wi-Fi connection.
To protect your information, and to keep your connection secure, the simplest solution is to just use a VPN. For those that have never heard of them, VPNs are Virtual Private Networks, and are sold as a subscription security service. Basically, a VPN is like a secret tunnel in the internet. Your connection is given the best encryption available, and routed through a secure server that the host company has.
When you use a VPN, everything you do online is done through this secure tunnel, and all of your activity is invisible to anyone else who may be on the network. Not only that, but since your connection is routed through a server in a location of your choosing, settings like network discovery keep your device from showing up to other users on open public networks.
Many people also use VPNs on their smartphones to get past geo-location blocks and network restrictions. If you’re trying to watch The Walking Dead under your desk at the office, but your boss has Netflix blocked, you can use a VPN to completely go around those blocks, and do so without them being the wiser.
By blocking your device’s real IP address and giving you a new one, a VPN completely bypasses content blocks, and gives you an unmatched level of privacy and anonymity. VPNs are even effective against government censorship of the internet that you may encounter in countries like Kuwait and China, and government surveillance programs that plague the online community around the world.
While it’s definitely important to take basic security measures with your smartphone (and any other connected devices), VPNs take a lot of the responsibility off your plate by protecting your information from your device to the server.
It’s still your responsibility to make sure that you’re only giving your personal information to trusted websites and companies, and to only download files from legitimate organizations. Malware security software is an excellent addition to your security arsenal, and can go a long way in protecting you if you make the embarrassing mistake of downloading a damaging file.
With the enormous amount of personal information that even simple social networking apps require, it’s reckless to take any chances with your security. Smartphones have offered up millions of easy victims to hackers on a silver platter, and the nonchalant attitudes of their users regarding their security has only fueled the fire behind the rampant theft of information.
With a VPN, there’s no guesswork, no hassles, and no worries. This software takes care of your privacy from start to finish, and goes above and beyond by keeping the prying eyes of government out of your connection, and hackers from getting ahold of the immense volumes of your personal information that apps are constantly using to keep you connected.
Stay ahead of the threat, and always use a VPN when allowing your smartphone to connect to public Wi-Fi networks.
About the Author: This was contributed by Caroline, a technology enthusiast whose main area of interest is internet security. Caroline recommends http://securethoughts.com/3-best-vpn as the resource for choosing the best VPN for your smartphone.