Mobile internet access growing: are you keeping your details safe?
Published 7 February 2012 by Joel Stanier
Recent research shows that more people are accessing the internet by mobile phone - but many could be putting their bank account and other online accounts at risk because they don't know how to protect their personal data.
The number of people using their mobile phone to access the internet is growing, according to a new report from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
In 2011, 45% of internet users accessed the web through their mobile phone, and 6 million people accessed the mobile internet for the first time ever. Meanwhile, the use of wireless 'hotspots' - which enable people to access the internet on the move - almost doubled, increasing to 4.9 million users.
However, 21% of internet users admitted that they didn't think they had sufficient skills to protect their personal data - meaning their bank accounts and other online accounts could be at risk.
Online bank account security has become a hot topic in recent weeks, after it was found that account providers' sophisticated security systems could be breached by hackers - often without the account holder even realising. It's likely that bank account holders will have to be convinced that mobile banking is safe before it really takes off.
But there are practical steps people can take to keep themselves safe online, which apply equally to mobile banking, says an expert at Think Banking.
"A large part of staying safe, particularly when it comes to bank accounts, is simply being careful with your details. Try not to write down your login details unless they're kept somewhere very safe, and don't give your details to anyone else.
"Also try to be vigilant online. If you ever receive emails claiming to be from your bank asking for your details, report it immediately - as banks will never ask for your details in this way.
"In fact, if you find anything suspicious, it's best to contact your bank and ask them - as it could be an issue that even they're not aware of yet."