Many people don’t realize just how vulnerable today’s computers and mobile devices are to nosy individuals and cybercriminals. However, by taking a few simple precautions, you can significantly improve your devices’ security, as well as the security of data stored on it.
Install anti-malware software
No matter what type of device you are using, it is important to install security software that includes an anti-malware component. Malware, short for malicious software, can infect your device and cause a range of problems, from stealing your personal data to taking over your computer’s processing power for criminal activities. Anti-malware software can detect and remove malware from your device and prevent future infections. It is important to keep your anti-malware software up to date with the latest definitions and to run regular scans to ensure that your device is protected.
Unfortunately, sometimes, things happen. Even if you do the best you can, sometimes one mistake can cost you, and it may cost you more than money. If your mobile device is compromised, you risk losing all of your data, and that includes your contacts and precious photo memories. Keep a backup so you can restore your data should your phone or access fall into the wrong hands. Automated backups will save you the hassle, and can be performed at times that you’re using your phone less, like overnight or in the early morning hours. Save your backup data to another source such as Google Drive, iCloud, OneDrive, or another service.
Utilize a VPN
If you’re unsure about the security status of the network you’re connected to, using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) client is mandatory. A VPN will enable you to connect to a network securely. At the same time, the VPN will shield your browsing activity on public Wi-Fi from prying eyes. It is also useful when accessing less secure sites. VPN services are relatively inexpensive and are invaluable for protecting your website traffic and private information.
Non-HTTPS sites are visible to anyone who knows how to use networking and vulnerability tools. These sites are prone to MITM (man-in-the-middle) attacks, which pave the way to eavesdropping and password sniffing. You need to have a new mindset when it comes to fighting cybercrime.
Ensure public or free wifi is protected
Everybody loves free Wi-Fi, especially if your data plan is limited. But cheap can turn expensive in a very devastating manner because most free Wi-Fi points are not encrypted. These open networks allow cybercriminals to eavesdrop on the network traffic and quickly get your passwords, usernames, and other sensitive information. For a skilled cybercriminal, it could only take moments to for your data to land in the wrong hands.
The threat isn't going anywhere anytime soon, either. In fact, a quick search turns up dozens of articles proclaiming that “hacking wifi networks have become a piece of cake.” As the demand for free and accessible wifi rises, criminals catch on to this low-hanging fruit. And it can easily become rotten.
To protect against Wi-Fi hacking, use applications that secure your connection or tell you the status of the Wi-Fi to which you are connected. WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) is more secure than WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy). As a matter of caution, you should also turn off wireless connectivity (Wi-Fi and Bluetooth) when you are not using them. This will help avoid automatic connection to unencrypted networks and save your battery.
Leverage stronger authentication methods
Multifactor authentication (MFA) has become the norm for securing access to sensitive resources. With MFA, you need to enter an authentication code to gain access to your account. However, IT experts caution against using SMS authentication due to its vulnerability to cyberattacks. A better alternative is to use either a USB security token or biometric authentication such as fingerprints, retina, or facial scans. These additional methods of authentication are much more difficult to compromise because cybercriminals would need to physically possess the authentication device or replicate biometric information, which is nearly impossible.
Encrypt your device
Most mobile devices are bundled with a built-in encryption feature. Encryption is the process of making data unreadable. Decryption, on the contrary, will convert unreadable data into accessible data.
Encryption is important in case of theft, and it prevents unauthorized access. You simply need to locate this feature on your mobile device and enter a password to encrypt your device. This process may take time, depending on the size of your data. The bigger the data, the more patient you’ll need to be.
Most importantly, you need to remember the encryption password because it's required every time you want to use your mobile device. Also, as a fail-safe, consider backing up your data since some mobile devices will automatically erase everything if the wrong encryption password is entered incorrectly after a certain number of times.
Our team can help your team navigate the continually changing cyber security landscape. Give us a call for more information.
Beringer Technology Group, a leading Microsoft Gold Certified Partner specializing in Microsoft Dynamics 365 and CRM for Distribution also provides expert Managed IT Services, Backup and Disaster Recovery, Cloud Based Computing, Email Security Implementation and Training, Unified Communication Solutions, and Cybersecurity Risk Assessment.