2016 is the year everyone should lock their digital door

Digital Door

Even though enterprises have long come to the conclusion that security is one of the areas which shouldn’t be ignored (especially with the increasing number of high profile data leaks which seem to be announced every month) is this same rigour applied to our personal lives?

If you were asked if it was good practice to lock your house or car you would think it a ridiculous question. It’s also common place not to leave things on show or to expose expensive technology like phones  when out and about as they may also get taken.  Surprisingly however, this good practice isn’t yet the norm for our most valuable assets; our personal information and data.  Even though there are numerous ways to protect your data, there are a few basic things you can do to at least deter attackers.

Home Wifi Router:

In the home your router is your first line of defence against hackers trying to access all your internet enabled devices.  Most ISPs provide advice on their websites specific to the router you have (BT, PlusNet, Virgin etc.) however as a rule of thumb it is always good to:

    1. Change the Access and Admin Passwords
    2. Ensure you are using WPA2 encryption
    3. Change your Network Name / SSID if you have set it to something that someone outside your house would identify with you

Passwords:

Always use complex passwords with letters, numbers and symbols (we do this at work but probably not at home).  Also don’t use the same password for everything, hackers will generally try and get passwords from less important systems hoping you use the same one for your Banking, Amazon etc.

Email:

If you have multiple email accounts and one is used for spam, signing up for newsletters etc., don’t copy your contact list here.  If this account is hacked it’s probably not the end of the world however you don’t want all your contacts being spammed. Also never click on links from unknown senders or confirm personal details or passwords (Banks or Financial institutions will never ask for this over email).

Mobile Phone/Tablets:

There are a few things to keep your mobile technology safe;

    1. Back it up – Your mobile technology will one day either be stolen, dropped or compromised
    2. Keep the operating system and apps up to date.  Updates usually occur to counteract new vulnerabilities

Voicemail:

There have been numerous Voicemail hacking scandals in the press however the word “hacking” is a little generous.  Have you changed the factory setting / out of the box number or password to access your voicemail?  It doesn’t take much for someone to guess 123 or 1234

Open/Free Wifi:

Even though it’s great to get free internet when you are out and about in coffee shops etc. however don’t forget people could be watching or monitoring what you do so don’t access websites or applications where you use a important password, like banking, shopping etc. as you would not be happy if someone got this.  If you need to do this ensure you use a VPN.

The above isn’t everything you can do but it would be a good new year resolution to start protecting your most valuable asset…..you.

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Author: Steve Wakefield

Steve Wakefield is an experienced Innovator presently based in London.

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