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Mobile devices use mobile browsers to access the internet. A mobile browser is a web browser designed for the small screens of mobile phones and tablets. Smartphones and tablets come with a web browser; however, third-party browsers may be available. Web browsers, as well as every other smartphone application, are designed for small screens and slower processing speeds compared to desktop and laptop computers. (PC Mag) There are many mobile browsers to choose from. The most popular mobile web browser is Apple's Safari which comes standard on all iOS Â devices. The second most popular browser is Android Browser, which comes standard on all Android devices. This implies that most people prefer to use the mobile browser that comes preinstalled on their mobile devices.
Mobile browsers are able to access and visit virtually any website, but they are usually directed automatically to a mobile specific website. A mobile website is "a website designed for the small screens of mobile phones and tablets." (PC Mag) Mobile websites are usually designed in a single column style format and are fairly simple in comparison to their full website counterpart When a mobile website is designed well, the simple design serves the purpose of increasing usability by providing faster load times and only presenting the most essential information.
There are many advantages to the mobile web in comparison to standard websites when being accessed by mobile devices. When success is defined as being able to complete a task, mobile websites have a much higher success rate than standard websites when being accessed by a mobile device. (Nielsen, 2011) It has been found beneficial for companies and businesses to have a well working mobile website, due to many customers wanting to shop online via mobile device. Banking activities on mobile devices have become increasingly popular with over 50% of mobile users performing banking activities on their mobile devices. (Keynote, ) Having a mobile ready website allows customers to check accounts, perform transactions, and even deposit checks on the go. The mobile web serves its purpose well and provides users with a much better on the go experience than traditional websites.
While the mobile web has continued to develop, there are still many issues and bugs to be fixed. The most common issues are as follows: (1) web pages slow to load; (2) websites not optimized for smartphones; (3) loading errors/couldn't open a page; (4) difficult to interact with a web page; (5) navigation on a site was difficult; (6) difficult to read web page on device; and (7) website did't have the functionality expected. (Keynote,) Although it seems there are many issues, most users continue to use the mobile web. The convenience of having the internet on the fly seems to out weigh the inconsistent issues that users experience with the mobile web.
Just like a computer, it is extremely important to protect mobile devices from threats or viruses. Most mobile devices contain very important and valuable information. Some examples of information or data that a mobile device may contain or have access to would be pictures, videos, addresses, phone numbers, bank accounts, credit cards, etc. It is essential to protect the data on mobile devices from software and physical threats. Due to the portability and smaller sizes of mobile devices, they are more at risk of being misplaced or stolen. Whatever the case may be, having a backup of all data and being able to erase the device remotely will save a user a lot of trouble.
Services and apps like Find My iPhone, Where's My Droid, and Plan B are available just in case a mobile device is missing or suspected to have been stolen. Each application allows the user to contact their missing mobile device, receive its current location, lock the device, and even erase all data on the device. An application or service like the previously mentioned can help to ease the mind of mobile users by keeping data secure and enabling the user to find their device in a timely manner.
Other than physical threats, there are many software threats. Mobile devices are susceptible to their own versions of trojans, spyware, riskware, monitoring-tools, etc. Just like a desktop computer, measures should be taken to prevent attacks from such software threats to ensure the safety of data and other sensitive information. The operating system that a mobile device uses my also increase the risk. With over 301 families and variants of mobile threats, 79% are designed to affect Android OS. (F-Secure, 2012) This does not mean that every other mobile operating system is risk free, but Android users should be extra careful to keep their devices secure.
Upon being educated about mobile threats, a mobile user may wonder what to do to keep their device and data secure. The following are the best practices to assure safety from mobile threats:
Never leave device unattended
Lock device with a password
Install apps from trusted sources
Keep system updates
Avoid using public wifi
Always log out of banking and shopping sites/apps
Never store personal information
Don't click on links or attachments in text or email
Block SMS Billing
Install a Mobile Security App