Mobile Web Filter: what it means and why everybody should have one

Mobile Web Filter is a solutions that monitor navigation from mobile devices more and more necessary

What do we mean by Mobile Web Filter? And why are today these solutions that monitor navigation from mobile devices more and more necessary, at work as well as at home, to protect adults, teenagers and children?

1. What is a Mobile Web Filter?

A Mobile Web Filter is a tool to protect navigation from mobile devices. To understand how important it is today to have a protected smartphone or tablet just consider that, according to Statista data, in 2021 the number of mobile devices in the world reached almost 15 billion, with an increase by one billion compared to 2020. Moreover, it is estimated that by 2025 the number of smartphones, tablets, IoT devices and all what is portable and can be connected to the Internet will exceed 18 billion units.

According to data by Ericsson & The Radicati Group, the number of active smartphones in the world in 2021 is almost 6,37 billion. And in 2022 this figure is expected to increase by other 300 million units. Tablets in 2021, on the other hand, are reported to be around 1.3 billion in the world according to other data by Statista.

This means that the combined number of active smartphones and tablets has reached around 7.6 billion units, with a world population of around 7.75 billion people. These figures do not consider cell phones that cannot be connected to the Internet, IoT devices, smart watches and smart speakers.

These data allow us to understand why smartphones and tablets have become the preferred tools to navigate the web. It is through smartphones and tablets that we use social networks, chats and apps, we watch videos on YouTube and tv series on Netflix, we listen to music on Spotify and play online. We do all of this wit mobile devices and often we use them also to work, while children and teenagers use them intensively for entertainment, communication and study purposes.

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2. Why is it necessary to protect your Mobile devices?

From what we said above, it is clear enough how necessary it is today to have mobile protection for navigation, hence a Mobile Web Filter. According to the Secure List by Kaspersky, a popular producer of tools for digital protection, in January 2021 the number of attacks targeting mobile devices was over 5 million. Even though over the rest of the year the trend improved, in the month of December alone more than 2 million attacks were reported, or about 74 thousand every day.

Given how much smartphones and tablets are used, we can easily understand why cybercriminals are focusing more and more on these tools. The attacks, that in most of the cases take the form of a malware that is often undetectable to the user, can happen in various ways. An infected APP can be downloaded from the Google or Apple stores, or you could receive automatically a file from a friend who is unaware of sending it or, especially, you can infect your device by opening a link.

The link can be received via email, Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, etc., from known or unknown contacts. And often it is the violated account of a friend that sends to all his contacts a message with a malicious link, with the account holder not knowing that.

The aim of these attacks is always the same: gaining access to personal or confidential information. The attackers use a small software, malware or trojan, which are automatically installed on the device and scan it looking for data to resell on the dark web. They can be access codes to our mobile banking, health data, credit card details and also company information. All these data have value and can result in a profit, also through fraud or blackmail.

We have already mentioned company or business data. Right, because today we use smartphones and tablets to work and to connect to the net and to company applications. So, malicious sleeping codes wait patiently for you to connect in order to intercept interesting data and documents, or to directly access systems. In this way, the mobile device becomes an infection carrier, causing important damages, and its owner could be considered directly responsible given the GDPR.

Dangers grow even more when we let teenagers use our smartphones and tablets. Without an adequate Mobile Web Filter, they can easily end up in malicious links and dangerous websites, with relevant consequences. On top of the damages caused by an unprotected navigation, as we have already said, an infected device becomes a tool to breach into the company network.

>> You can install the FlashStart® Cloud protection on all Routers and Firewalls to grant the safety of desktop and mobile devices as well as IoT devices on local networks

3. How does a Mobile Web Filter work

The basic principle of a Mobile Web Filter is always the same, independently from the type of solution adopted. Think about a “guardian” who, when the user clicks on a link, carries out a very fast check against a series of web “registers”. If the ending page is described in the register as dangerous, the navigation will get blocked and the user won’t be able to proceed.

The different levels of dangerousness are defined by categories (porn websites, ecommerce of illegal products, fraudulent websites, web pages that contain malware, websites with restrictions based on age, etc.) and by several databases and registers used by the suppliers of Mobile Web Filtering services that are constantly updated.

It is exactly the simultaneous checking of a high number of databases and their updating that have become fundamental elements in the choice of the best Mobile Web Filter. Moreover, it is important to count not only on Mobile Web Filters that are already present in protection systems, those that were once called antiviruses but that today do much more than that, because they may result not to be sufficiently effective.

Moreover, it is (almost) always possible to tailor the tool so as to add to list of blocked websites new domains that, for some reason, our company or us, as parents, do not want to allow. Finally, many Mobile Web Filters record the navigation sessions, so as to be able to track back precisely the accessed websites and the frequency of access. It is also possible to impose time limits on the navigation, a function that is very useful in case you wish to limit Internet use for the youngest. Ease of use, freedom of personalization and report availability are the other elements to consider when you decide to install a Mobile Web Filter.

4. The different types of protection for mobile devices

There are different types of Mobile Web Filters available on the market. Google, for example, offers Safesearch also for searches from smartphones and tablets. It is easy to activate it in the settings of the navigation program. Just like Google, today all other browsers include functions to protect the navigation. But the protection is granted also by the mobile operating systems themselves. Appli iOS and all the operating systems based on Android include a navigation filter.

The YouTube filter is activated through the Restricted Mode, but you can also use YouTubeKids, a service version that is specifically designed for minors’ safe navigation. You must however consider one thing: the YouTube filter protects you only while you are navigating on YouTube, just like the filters offered by every browser safeguard you only while you are using that specific browser.

And, in general, they are services that cannot always be trusted, either because the databases are not updated or because they can easily be bypassed.
If you want to make sure that a Mobile Web Filter will really protect the navigation on mobile devices, you’d better rely on a solution that is specifically designed for this. FlashStart has always focused exclusively on producing a web filtering service that is more and more accurate. And with just one product, available in different versions for the different contexts (domestic, company, Internet Service Provider), the user is granted protection with every web program or service he uses.

In this way, FlashStart protects every end point from navigation, independently from the browser and service used, also in case of YouTube navigation. For mobile devices, and in general for every other type of computer, FlashStart makes ClientShield available. It’s an app that is easy to install on all types of mobile devices, Android, ChromeOS and iOS, which connects directly to the FlashStart Cloud service. Those who have installed it appreciate the ease of use and the fact that the filter does not hinder or slow down navigation. For this reason, ClientShield has been particularly appreciated by several schools and educational institutions, in Italy and in various countries in the world.

The advantage of FlashStart is that it inspects only DNS traffic, on top of exploiting a wide network of data centers spread all over the world (Anycast) and, consequently, numerous databases that are constantly updated. The application engine at the basis of the service, moreover, exploits specific algorithms of Artificial Intelligence, always with the aim of speeding up the control of links, avoiding as much as possible to slow down the navigation.

The FlashStart navigation protection service, moreover, is very easy to install, set up and personalize, and supplies detailed navigation reports. It is also possible to schedule navigation time so as to limit the use of the Internet for the youngest users.

The numerous installations of FlashStart confirm a guarantee of maximum security in navigation from mobile devices, both at home and in school, in companies and through public networks, as well as in the ever more frequent cases of smart working.

You can activate the FlashStart® Cloud protection on any sort of Router and Firewall to secure desktop and mobile devices and IoT devices on local networks.

Reading time 3 min
Valerio MarianiB2B IT Journalist & Digital content
I am dedicated to providing companies with in-depth analysis and high-quality digital content to help them remain competitive in the technology marketplace. I am here to provide clear insights and effective communication strategies for business success.

View all posts by Valerio Mariani

I am dedicated to providing companies with in-depth analysis and high-quality digital content to help them remain competitive in the technology marketplace. I am here to provide clear insights and effective communication strategies for business success.
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