The desktop computer industry is giving way to more convenient ways of computing — mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers. Convenience is a good thing but generally, it can give way to security caveats. Whether the business or nonbusiness user takes advantage of the devices, there are some points to keep in mind when using them. Complacency tends to sneak in for the duration of mobile device use, depending on the general usage. Another more common danger is that mobile devices can be lost or stolen relatively easy.

It’s a computer hacker’s pastime to set up WiFi access points — requiring no password — in order to obtain a connection to a victim’s mobile device. Although the internet is a lot more secure today through the implementation of encrypted websites, there are still many websites that don’t use encryption. Unencrypted web pages can be “sniffed” or monitored via what’s called network sniffing software. This enables computer hackers to gaze at what is being transmitted between the victim (WiFi user) and the website accessed. While some of this information might not be directly revealing of the victim, that doesn’t mean it’s safe. Hackers generally attempt to build a profile on victims before delivering what’s called the “payload” or the intended result — this can range from a wide variety of illegal activities such as stealing photos and E-Mails to identify theft. Computer hackers will generally be stealth and when there aren’t any immediate negative consequences from using unknown WiFi access points, complacency can take control resulting in a negative outcome.

Shopping malls, coffee shops, and various other types of venues are now providing free charging stations for their customers to use. This type of convenience complements very well the use of mobile devices — but again, not without its security caveats. Phones can be left on a table to charge and when the owner is distracted, it can be stolen easily. Sometimes mobile device users will simply forget their phones at whatever venue they’re visiting. It’s important to enable strong password protection on mobile devices so that thieves cannot access the private information on them. Mobile devices can come with encryption options as well — depending on the sensitivity of the data being protected, this could serve well as a “multi-layer” security approach.

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