The Struggle to Keep Mobile Browsers Safe.

The internet has gone mobile.

According to the Mobile Web Watch Survey, 69% of all internet users access the web through their mobile browsers. The use of mobile browsers for making online purchases has likewise increased. A study put out by Google showed that 63% of smartphone users used thier mobile device to make purchases and 20% stated that they make daily purchases using their smart phones.

mobile browsersOnline banking is also becoming very popular. There has been an influx of commercials advertising the ease of banking over mobile devices. With some banks, all you have to do is snap a picture of your check with your smartphone and then use your mobile web browser to deposit it into your bank. Others have shown customers scanning their smart phones (instead of their debit or credit cards) to complete their purchases in the check out line. Studies show that 46% of mobile users conduct banking transactions over their mobile devices. This technology makes life very convenient, but there is cause for concern. How safe are these web browsers?

Of those mobile internet users surveyed, 70% had concerns regarding data security which included losing personal data, identity theft and viruses. Though data security is always a concern, it is especially prominent where mobile browsers are concerned. All mobile browsers are different in the way that they display security information, some are better than others but each has vulnerabilities.

The biggest problem lies in the size of the display screen. Full-sized computers are able so show security indicators such as the SSL lock icon in the URL address bar, trust seals and the https keyword. On smaller screens, it is difficult to display this information, making it hard for consumers to know whether the website is safe and authentic or if they have reached a phishing site that mimics the intended site. Mobile devices are estimated to have an increased risk of cyber attacks because of their security vulnerabilities.

A recent study by Georgia Tech  tested 10 of the leading mobile browsers and showed that even cyber-security experts were unable to detect when their mobile browsers landed on potentially dangerous websites. Consumers are at a significant disadvantage when it comes to  ensuring internet security.

Although there are many things that need to happen to keep mobile browsers secure, having visible signs that alert the customer of the website’s security is the first step. By adopting a unified approach, designers can increase the safety of their mobile browsers.


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