Tablet use in the US is on the rise, so much so that a full 85% of traffic from some websites takes place on a tablet or smartphone (which is basically a mini tablet). Tablets, like the iPad, Kindle Fire, Samsung Galaxy, and others, are convenient and easy to use, making them the perfect computer companion.

But new survey data from Harris Interactive has shown that tablet users are more likely to transmit sensitive personal information over the internet than other types of tech users. This information is typically things like credit card numbers as consumers shop online, but can include other sensitive personal information.

Part of the problem with tablets is they don’t have the time-tested security measures that we’ve come to expect from our desktop or laptop computers, but since they do much of the same tasks, we treat them like they do. Also, as companies buy tablets for their employees to use, a growing number of people who didn’t have the chance to educate themselves on tablet security now has access to them.

But tablets really are great tools if you know how to use them and respect your personal security. Some of the ways you can protect yourself through that small screen can make the difference between keeping your identity secure, and handing everything over to a would-be thief.

First, don’t utilize free wifi hotspots, popular in restaurants, hotels, and other businesses, if you’re going to be handling your sensitive information unless you have a VPN. If you are using a business’ hotspot, such as to sign up instantly with a store for a free promotion to receive a discount, don’t use a password you use for other accounts.

Tablets contain a feature in the settings that lets you set up a password to turn on the device. You can even turn this feature on and off, so you don’t have to enter the password to use it at home but can enable the feature if you’re using your tablet while out. There are also features that let you track the tablet if it’s stolen, as well as delete all of your apps and information remotely if it gets stolen. Learn how to use this feature and be ready to enable it if your tablet is stolen.

No matter how many feet away, never leave your tablet sitting in public. Even if you’re just getting up to grab another packet of sugar for your coffee while you enjoy the free wifi, pick up your tablet and take it with you. It only takes a second to grab your tablet, and public places where people use their technology are favorite haunts for thieves who are waiting to grab your device and your identity. And that remote feature that lets you wipe the tablet? It just became a race between you and the thief to see who can work faster, the guy downloading all of your information, or the unhappy former tablet owner who’s trying to delete his information from his home computer or phone.

Finally, remember that a tablet is not a laptop. It doesn’t work the same way, and it doesn’t have the same security protections that laptops have. Tablets have been a great benefit to society, especially in terms of connectivity, education, the medical field, and business structure, but they are still a new tool to many people. Don’t become so at ease with your device that you forget the power it can give a thief.

If you found this information helpful, you may want to consider taking part in the Identity Theft Resource Center's Anyone3 fundraising campaign.  For more information or to donate please visit http://www.idtheftcenter.org/anyone-3

 

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