Are Tablets Just As Vulnerable As Mobile Phones?

With unit sales of smartphones and tablets eclipsing those of desktop and notebook PCs, cybercriminals will continue setting their sights on mobile, and increased mobile Internet use will continue exacerbating security and data breach issues.

McAfee Labs™ points out today’s tablets are more powerful than notebooks were just a few years ago. Although their lack of real keyboards makes them unsuitable for many tasks (editing texts, programming, and design), they are very suitable for browsing the Web, which today is a primary source of malware.

You do need to view tablet computers separately from mobile phones. Tablets mainly differ in the size of the screen, but they share the same software, operating systems, and processors so their security concerns are nearly identical. About the only difference is that some tablets can use USB devices, which increases the attack surface of such devices.

And because like our mobile phone, tablets tend to be portable and one of our most personal computing devices, you need to take steps to protect it. Many of the best practices you use on your computer can be transferred to your tablet.

To help ensure that your tablet is protected, you should:

Always password protect your device and set it to auto-lock after a certain period of time to increase your mobile security

Never leave your tablet unattended in a public place

Don’t click on links on emails and text messages from people you don’t know

Even if you know the company or person, use a browser to search for a link or use the company’s official app to navigate to the site

Always double-check the web address of a site when doing a search on your mobile phone.

If you use online banking and shopping sites, always log out and don’t select the “remember me” function

Before downloading a third-party app, check other users’ reviews to see if it is safe, and read the app’s privacy policy to make sure that it is not sharing your personal information

Use comprehensive mobile security software like McAfee Mobile Security which include antivirus, anti-theft, web protection, privacy protection and call and text filtering. If you have multiple notebooks, netbooks, smartphone and tablets, McAfee All Access provides security for all your devices and helps keep all your stuff safe whenever and wherever you connect.

Robert Siciliano is an Online Security Evangelist to McAfee. Watch him discussing information he found on used electronic devices YouTube. (Disclosures)

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