We asked CLA Member Keith Franklin of RuralTech for an update on ways you can help keep your home and business safe from cyber crime.
Here are his ten top tips:
Cybersecurity, the practice of defending computers, servers, mobile devices, electronic systems, networks and data from malicious attacks, remains as important as ever.
Cyber attacks continue to evolve at a rapid pace. Unboxing and setting up a new device in your home or office can be exciting, but there are a few critical steps that should be taken first to ensure you don’t invite hackers in:
1. Use a password manager
PCs, Macs, smartphones and tablets increasingly support use of password managers for generating and storing strong passwords. Though not all devices can use password managers directly, these are still beneficial to set up, particularly those that offer two-factor authentication.
2. Protect your routers and Wi-Fi
The common point for all devices in a home or office are routers and Wi-Fi networks. While many people set these up once and forget about them, you need to make sure they are secure. Take the time to create a strong password, and consider configuring a unique SSID — this might make it a bit harder to add devices to the network, but makes it more difficult to breach.
3. Set up more secure accounts on your PCs and Macs
Make sure every user for PC and Mac laptops and desktops has their own regular user account with a username and password, with one separate administrative account for maintenance.
4. Prevent lost tablets and smartphones from turning into something worse
As more people use their portable devices for banking and other sensitive transactions, they must ensure that pass codes are enabled, information is encrypted, lost device location settings are turned on, and data can be wiped if too many bad passwords are tried.
5. Protect your data on smartwatches and personal fitness devices
Much like smartphones and tablets, these devices often contain sensitive personal data. Along with enabling passwords and other security features, you should also take time to understand what information is being used and that the cloud accounts these devices are connected to have strong protections in place as well.
6. Be smart with your smart home
Internet of Things (IoT) devices all have their own security and privacy settings, and a best practice is to research and understand those before you install them in your home. Making sure your home router and Wi-Fi have good security and that you're using good, strong unique passwords when pairing devices with apps (where possible) are easy things you can do for all these devices.
7. Don't forget about home entertainment apps, TVs, and DVRs
Users of these apps and devices need to ensure the device itself as well as the router and Wi-Fi are secure. However, home entertainment also involves apps, not just devices. Apps from providers like Netflix and Amazon should all have individual strong passwords.
8. Protect your gaming consoles too
Like home entertainment devices, gaming consoles involve both the security of the actual device and the security of the cloud-based accounts that need to be dealt with. Many gaming platforms now include two-factor authentication, which should be enabled when possible.
9. Use smart speakers smartly
Smart speakers are voice-activated devices in your home or office that often have digital assistants built in, so they require the same security measures. If you are looking for a device solely to play music, you may want to consider one that isn't connected to the internet for more security.
10. Patch, patch, and patch some more
Patching is the most important thing you can do to stay cybersecure. Few people like getting into the guts of devices to manage updates and the apps on them but the reality right now is that this is not only critical for security and privacy, it's also sometimes a process that can only be done manually. For every device or system, you should learn to do updates for the firmware, the operating system, and the apps on it.
CONFUSED BY CYBERCRIME?
If you are interested in further cybersecurity information, or a comprehensive review of your business IT, please contact Keith Franklin at RuralTech: 07775 897423 or firstname.lastname@example.org.