Keep your gadgets secure with these quick data security tips.
The world we live in has dramatically changed even over the last five to 10 years. Everything is seemingly connected to every other thing, and convenience now rules the day. Unfortunately, when you make things convenient for the end user, that usually means they’re easily compromised by the bad guys. So how can we keep our gadgets safe and ensure data security?
- Password Protect Your Device with Strong Passwords
Add a PIN (use the maximum allowed numbers for your device) or a unique password. It’s the easiest and likely the most important thing you can do to protect your device and data.
- Keep Your Device Up to Date
All the modern mobile operating systems release frequent updates, which should be applied as soon as they’re pushed to your device. These updates usually address security holes found, in addition to improving device performance and providing other enhanced features. The same is true for the applications installed on your device, which can be updated via the Google Play Store (Android) or the App Store (Apple).
- Back Up Your Device Regularly
It’s critical to have a regular backup as part of your overall security strategy. Why are backups part of security? If your device becomes infected with a virus or is lost/stolen, having a backup copy of your apps and data is vital to a quick recovery. Here are some good articles for backing up your Apple or Android device.
- Know How to Remote Wipe Your Device in Case It’s Lost or Stolen
Did you know you can nuke the data on your mobile device in the unfortunate event that it becomes lost or stolen? This great article highlights this functionality on the most common mobile operating systems on the market. This is a permanent action, which is why it’s so important to have a regular backup of your phone’s data in the cloud.
- Avoid Using Nonencrypted Public WiFi
Public WiFi hot spots are typically open to anyone and not encrypted. This means anyone with some easy-to-find online tools connected to the same WiFi can potentially see any communications from your devices. This includes websites you visit and any log-in credentials you may use. Here is a good article from ESET on how to stay secure on a public WiFi connection. As a side note, it’s always a good idea to turn off WiFi on your mobile device when you’re not using it.
- Disable the Cookies and Autofill Features
If your mobile device automatically enters passwords and log-in information into websites you visit frequently, turn that feature off. The cost of the convenience is an increased security threat. There are a number of third-party apps on the market for most mobile operating systems that can manage your passwords with a greater level of security. Macs have a built-in password manager called Keychain. I personally use KeePass, which is a free password manager for Windows. On the iOS and Android platforms, there are options such as SplashID and LastPass that can help keep your password data secure.
- Install Antivirus / Antimalware Software
There are a lot of great antivirus programs on the market for both Android and Apple devices. Some of them include ESET, Kaspersky, Avast and BitDefender and they range in price from free to around $15. Because the majority of internet traffic comes though mobile devices these days, a growing number of viruses specifically target these devices. It’s worth the investment to protect yourself and your privacy.
- Use a VPN Whenever Possible
A VPN (or Virtual Private Network) is a private network that extends across a public network or internet. It enables users to send and receive data across shared or public networks as if their computing devices were directly connected to the private network. Think of it as a private tunnel only you can use that sits inside a public tunnel that everyone uses. While this can be a more complicated topic, here are two articles that can help you get a VPN set up on your Apple or Android device.
What tips would you add to the list?