Modern technology such as the cloud and mobile devices have made everyday tasks a simple matter for consumers. Unfortunately, when it comes to technology, greater convenience often comes with increased risk.
As adoption of new technology rises around the globe, so does cybercrime. It’s more important than ever to ensure that you and your team practice safety when using technology to avoid identity theft, data loss, and other consequences.
At the end of the day, security comes down to you: the user. No matter what kind of firewalls, antivirus or other IT security software your employer or your team uses, if you’re not safe, you won’t stay safe for long.
The most important thing is to stay aware of the new risks that come along with using modern technology. Keep these three key tips in mind when using technology every day:
- Control Your Visibility
It’s easier than you may think for hackers to learn what they need to know about you. Social media allows them to gather information about your work, family, pets, favorite vacation destinations and more, which makes it easier for them to guess passwords and send fraudulent emails while posing as someone else. The best way to combat this trend is by controlling your privacy settings on social media, using complex, unique passwords and enabling advanced security features such as two-step verification.
- Familiarise Yourself With Hacking Methods
Most common hacking techniques and cybercrime schemes require the (unwitting) participation of someone on the inside. Downloading a suspicious email attachment or even responding to or forwarding an email can be all it takes. That’s why it’s vital for you to be wary of unexpected emails, unverified contacts, and unusual requests. It can often be as easy as requesting verification on the phone to stop a hacker that’s posing as someone else.
- Avoid Free Wi-Fi
Sure, it’s convenient to utilise free Wi-Fi in spots like airports, beaches, and cafes. However, hackers are smart, and they know where people are likely to connect their devices to unsecured networks. Cyber criminals can set up free Wi-Fi, and when you unknowingly connect, you could be compromising your device. Use discretion when determining whether a free Wi-Fi hotspot is actually worth the risk.
- Stay up to date
While some users remain skeptical of new updates to their software, the fact is that these patches help to protect your information from known vulnerabilities. By refusing an upgrade, you risk maintaining a weakness in the system that is publicly recognised at that point as a method that hackers may use to compromise your info, so be sure to regularly check for updates.
- Use a wide variety of passwords
Even though you may have over a dozen different logins for the services you make use of on the web, the fact is that unique passwords are an important part of online security. If you were to use the same password for your email, online banking, and social media, the vulnerability of your information is significantly increased because a successful hack of just one account opens up every other one with the same password. Be sure to vary your password from one account to the next.
- Enable two-factor verification
Many services these days, including Gmail, Facebook, and PayPal, offer a subsequent step for verification to ensure that hackers would need more than just your password to gain access to your accounts. While the methods may vary, a traditional form of two-factor verification today is to have a confirmation code sent to your mobile device that you then use your password to log in. While it may take more time, it only adds to the security of your information.
With the rate at which technology is constantly evolving, it’s important to make use of the latest tools available to you. When it comes to sensitive data, there’s no precaution too high.
Published on 31st January 2017 by Ian Brady.