Cyber security: 8 tips to keep your devices safe
Every month cyber security becomes a more pressing issue for both people and businesses alike. With frequent headlines reporting data breaches at a corporate level, individuals may believe they’re not a tantalising target for hackers.
Unfortunately, this assumption is wrong. A recent report revealed that 86 per cent of respondents believe they may have experienced a phishing incident, whilst 40 per cent of millennials have experienced cybercrime in the last year. The reality is that if you are connected to the internet, you’re a target!
In the spirit of Cyber Security Awareness Month, we’ve joined forces with Crucial Academy to compile this list of quick but effective cyber security tips. Covering a range of consumer devices, this advice will help individuals keep their personal details and cyber interactions as secure as possible.
Says Neil Williams, former Royal Marine Commando and CEO of Crucial Academy: “Cyber security is something that should be taken seriously by everybody, and across all of their devices. With an increasing number of connected gadgets introduced each year, adopting safe security habits today will be the best preparation to remain cyber secure in the future.”
Keep your WhatsApp messages safe
With its end-to-end encryption, we may all be guilty of sharing a little more than we should through WhatsApp. To ensure no one can log into your WhatsApp account, thereby accessing your messages, enable the two-step verification option found in the account settings. This stops anyone being able to register your phone number unless they know the PIN you input.
As far-fetched as it may seem, there are numerous ways hackers can attempt to take over your WhatsApp account. Without the two-step verification, you’re only making it easier.
Update your router
When was the last time you updated your Wi-Fi router? Just like your phone and computer, your router also needs updating. A recent study found five out of six Wi-Fi routers are at risk of attack due to insufficient updates.
To keep yours up to date, first log into it. Most routers can be logged into by typing in 192.168.0.1 into your browser’s URL bar and entering any login details. These may be on documentation or the router itself, or you may have set them previously. Once logged in, you can update your security settings and ensure safer surfing.
Choose a secure router name
Never name your Wi-Fi router anything too obvious, such as your family name, part of your address, or anything that can be used to identify you.
By choosing a random and obscure name you can prevent attackers targeting you by knowing which Wi-Fi router you operate. It also makes it harder to guess passwords if the router name gives no hints as to who the owner may be.
Personalise login details for devices
Whenever you buy a new device, be sure to update the administration and password login details so they don’t remain as their default settings. Default and factory settings for these logins can easily be found on the internet, making any non-personalised device a target, essentially offering attackers the keys to your device.
Smart tips for Smart TVs
The default settings for Smart TVs also require altering to ensure maximum security. To keep your TV safe, check the settings and ensure the option to share data with third parties is turned off.
Disable features that you won’t use, including the camera and microphone if necessary, and ensure you run updates as required. Like other devices, Smart TVs require updates to ensure they are functioning at maximum security.
Consider a password manager
Remembering one password which adheres to the recommended character length and variety of numbers, special characters, upper-case and lower-case letters can be hard enough. Remembering these super secure passwords for all of your various logins can be near on impossible. Get around this by investing in a password manager.
There are a range of password managers available, but the best will create strong, randomised passwords for all your logins, requiring you to only remember one master password to access them all.
Add extra password security
Enable multi-factor authentication for all your important accounts. If there’s a particular account which would cause extreme stress if compromised, don’t risk not using multi-factor authentication.
Multi-factor authentication security configuration can often be found in the privacy and security settings of accounts or can be added using password managers as detailed above.
Beware of phone phishing
Like email scams, phone phishing usually invokes an element of urgency in a bid to get people to let their guard down. For instance, you may receive a call from a pre -recorded message claiming to be your bank and asking you to call them on a specific number. In a moment of panic, you might just do so.
But keep a cool head and always contact banks, and other institutions, through their official contact numbers, which can always be found online.