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Mobile VPN: What could happen if you don’t use one

Whether you are using an older model or the newest Samsung Galaxy Z Flip, one essential tool you need on your device is a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN will protect your browsing habits and internet activity from being accessed by your cell phone carrier, internet service provider, or law enforcement. Furthermore, if you’re concerned about exposing your personal information when connecting to an insecure network at an airport or coffee shop, VPNs can offer an additional level of security.

It’s relatively simple to set up a free VPN service on your mobile and the benefits far outweigh the risks of leaving your device exposed to potential threats.

Most people and organizations nowadays use VPNs on their PCs and laptops to safeguard their data and increase security while browsing the web. Mobile VPN users, on the other hand, utilize VPNs for a different reason: VPNs were adopted by 57 percent of mobile users to get better streaming content, compared to 54 percent of PC or laptop users. While this is an appealing argument to use a VPN on mobile, the same level of privacy concern that is granted to PC internet browsing should be afforded to mobile internet browsing.

There were 4.67 billion active mobile internet users worldwide in 2022, which means a significant amount of personal data was at risk. Furthermore, Android smartphones account for only 37% of VPN usage. When we use our phones to get online, we are usually out and about, presumably linked to unsecured networks for internet access. This exposes us to prospective hackers who may attempt to intercept data sent from your mobile device across a compromised network.

There is also the risk that if your operating software is not up to date, you are more likely to be targeted by hackers. Malicious hackers may find it difficult to exploit ordinary users of public Wi-Fi, but outdated software can provide them with the opportunity to acquire the passwords to your most sensitive accounts, including banking credentials. 

VPNs provide an extra layer of security to your mobile device. When you connect to a VPN, your online traffic is authenticated with the remote server location. When you browse the web, the data is encrypted based on the security protocol you’re using, sent to a remote server, and then sent out to the public web. Your new IP address is spoofed with that of the VPN provider, masking your true IP address. Encrypted data packets are transferred between you and the remote VPN server, ensuring your safety and security at all times. This is commonly referred to as VPN tunneling.

While there are steps you can take to look for information as securely as possible online, a VPN makes it more challenging for you to be tracked based on information such as your IP address and helps prevent hackers and third parties from getting access to your sensitive data.

Many of the apps we use on our mobile devices have upped their game when it comes to security and privacy, such as Instagram introducing new privacy-centric features back in 2022. With this being said, mobile privacy and security threats continue to be on the rise. Phishing attacks via text, also known as smishing, are a way for criminals to gain access to sensitive information by baiting individuals to follow links that contain malicious software. Using our mobiles for tasks such as banking makes security even more vital. Here are a few threats to be wary of when using your mobile device. 

Data leaks 

Before installing a new app on your mobile device, you should consider privacy and security risks. Almost every app gathers data from your device. Names, birth dates, credit card, and bank account information, location tracking, phone numbers, photographs, and other personal information may be included. All of the data can be acquired and used for fraud if the app’s systems are hacked or if a technical flaw renders them vulnerable.

Spyware

Be wary of apps that claim to track the whereabouts of your loved ones and children, as they could be spyware meant for intrusive digital monitoring. Criminals can use these apps to read text messages and emails, track the mobile’s whereabouts, listen in on adjacent conversations, and capture photos. 

Passwords

When it comes to practicing greater security, passwords are frequently overlooked. Many users make mistakes, such as using the same password for multiple accounts. If a hacker obtains your password through a data leak or another means, they will have access to many accounts containing sensitive personal information.

Trojan horse apps

Some apps are specifically designed to install malware on your device. An app may seem to be beneficial, providing free access to something that should cost money, yet it includes a virus. On the other hand, the malware may use the phone’s online banking app to discreetly transfer money to the criminal’s accounts.

A mobile VPN should be utilized to provide you with better security and peace of mind when browsing the web or completing sensitive tasks, such as online banking. The risk of not using a VPN on your mobile opens up a plethora of threats from hackers and leaves your data exposed to many entities, including your internet service provider. 

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