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The safety of your data is in your own hands

businessman pointing finger chose you

When you think of phone theft you might think of someone physically stealing your mobile. However, with our whole lives now saved to our phones we should be more concerned with identity hackers stealing our personal information, not just the phone itself. Whilst it might feel secure to use a Wi-Fi hot spot in a café, there is always a possibility your private information has been hacked into and this is very often way more valuable than your wallet or keys.

Our phones have become an extension of ourselves, almost like having an extra limb. A Norton report from 2013 shows that 1 in 3 smartphone users have experienced cybercrime. So how do we stay as safe as possible when using our phones?

There are a few simple tips to staying safe online, like updating the mobile software regularly or installing anti- virus software, but the most obvious tip would be to stay away from public Wi-Fi. If you’re always on the move this can be tricky to avoid at times and this is where a VPN (Virtual Private Network) can come in handy. Ideal for remote working, VPN’s are the online version of computer firewalls, allowing a secure connection on a public network. Whether you’re using your computer, phone or tablet, information running to and from your VPN server is securely encrypted. This means you can surf at will in a public area without risk of your data being hacked into.

How do you setup a VPN?

All iPhones are now encrypted automatically, whereas android phones are not. You can set up a VPN for free on your android within your Wi-Fi phone settings but most experts suggest going for paid services over free VPN solutions for complete security. These services are available for iPhones and androids and there are Apps like Express VPN that guide you through the process of setting up a VPN server on your phone.

If you think locking your screen will prevent any data from being stolen, think again. Although this is a good start, it doesn’t stop most tech savvy fraudsters from gaining access to your data.

Other benefits of a VPN (aside from security) include being able to watch live TV or catch up when travelling abroad. Some people purchase a VPN to simply unblock Netflix or other streaming websites. Basically, a VPN will make it seem like you’re in a different country allowing you to watch websites you might not otherwise have access to. However, this will only work if you choose the right server location.

There are a lot of VPN providers around and before you entrust them with your precious information, it’s a good idea to do your homework first. So, what should you look out for when choosing the right VPN solution for your mobile?

This all depends on what you’re using it for. Pricing for starters is important, most providers offer monthly subscriptions and shopping around will help you get the best deal. However, there are more significant features to look out for like server location, encryption protocols, and any data or bandwidth limitations. What you’ll be using your VPN for will determine what you need from these features. For example, protocols vary in security, so if you’re using a VPN to unblock a streaming website then a ‘PPTP’ protocol is sufficient. But if you were going to be sharing files and accessing data then you should be looking for a VPN provider that supports an OpenVPN. A list of the top VPN providers for android can be found on BestVPN.com.

Some say that checking a VPN provider’s privacy policy is the most important factor when deciding on the right VPN to buy. A provider that logs all your information defeats the object of getting a VPN in the first place. A service that isn’t required by law to log your browsing or data is the one to pick if you’re using a VPN for highly confidential data transfers and keeping your data safe.

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