Mobile Broadband Security Posted June 28th, 2012 and last modified January 14th, 2013
There has been a huge rise in the number of consumers who make use of mobile broadband to access the internet. The main credit for this goes to the development of 3G services that made it possible for people to access the internet with their portable devices at decent speeds. However, with the rise in the number of users, there has been a subsequent rise in the security threat to such internet usage. Hence, in order to protect themselves from unauthorized usage of their mobile broadband
, consumers should take the necessary security measures so as to make their mobile broadband as secure as possible.
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Mobile broadband security issues
Mobile broadband works on the basis of the mobile phone network of different ISPs. The ISPs take a lot of care to ensure that their networks are encrypted and are completely secure. Hence, consumers who use mobile broadband
through their mobile dongles do not really have to worry about security issues as all the security protocols are automatically built into their internet connection. However, there are several ways to use mobile broadband other than through a mobile dongle and these do present security issues as explained below:
- Illegal use of broadband signal: Certain mobile phones and portable devices can be used as a wireless modem to connect to mobile broadband. In such a situation, it is possible to hack into your wireless modem and use the mobile broadband signal illegally.
- WiFi dongle risks: Also, consumers do have the option of purchasing a mobile Wi-Fi dongle to connect to their mobile broadband. If this is how you use your mobile broadband, then you do not have the benefit of the security of your ISP networks. Hence, in such situations, your mobile broadband is open to security threats as any wireless network is.
- Lack of security features: When you use a USB dongle to connect to the internet, you have to make sure that the dongle is plugged into your computer or a laptop. Hence, although you are making use of mobile broadband, you do have to depend on the security features of your device to ensure that your mobile broadband is secure. If you have the standard security on your computer such as firewalls, passwords for your internet connections, anti-virus software etc; you do not have much reason to worry. However, if your computer is lacking good security features, then your mobile broadband is at risk too.
- Using your router to create a shared network: Many consumers make use of mobile broadband wireless routers to create a shared network for multiple devices. In such situations too, your mobile broadband is exposed to the same security risks that any other wireless network is exposed to.
- The dongle: Another security risk with mobile broadband is the mobile dongle itself. Since this is a piece of physical equipment, there are chances that the dongle can get lost or stolen. Therefore, if such a thing happens with your mobile dongle, then any person who gets their hands on your dongle will be able to use your mobile broadband connection. They could download large amounts of data through your mobile broadband, all of which will ultimately be reflected on your internet bill.
Mobile broadband security tips
From the above mentioned security issues with mobile broadband, it is quite evident that consumers need to do everything possible to protect their mobile broadband connection. Here are some security tips that will help you do just that:
- When using your portable device as a wireless modem for mobile broadband, do ensure that you are using a password to protect your connection: The password should never be something obvious such as your name or birth date. Instead, you should choose a password that is at least 8 characters long and is a combination of letters and numbers. Do make sure that the password is easy to remember so that you can access your own mobile broadband.
- Dongle safety: Keep your mobile dongle in a safe place and do not keep it on your person unless absolutely necessary. If you do not use your mobile dongle every day, make sure you do not carry it with you when not required. Also, most people tend to put their mobile dongles in their laptop bags. This increases the security risk because if your laptop gets lost, then the person who finds it not only has possession of your laptop, but also has a convenient means to connect to the internet with the dongle. Therefore, it is advisable to keep the mobile dongle separate from your laptop or other portable device.
- Security features: When using the dongle with your computer, make sure that your computer has all the required security features such as firewalls and anti-virus software. Do remember to keep the software updated so as to get the best protection possible.
- Password and encryption: When using mobile broadband wireless routers, make sure the router is password protected and that your wireless network is encrypted with WPA encryption keys.