6 Steps to Protect Yourself and Your Devices
In today's world we are more connected than ever — not only to each other, but to our devices. For example, people now have the ability to open and close their garage doors and even start their cars directly from their phones. But what information do we put at risk when we do all of these amazing things?
Securing your web-enabled devices and keeping personally identifiable information safe and secure these days is of the utmost importance. Here are some simple steps you can take to secure your devices:
- Automatic patches and updates. In today's "set it and forget it" society, many electronic devices can take care of themselves. Quite often technology has a setting that allow for automatic updates. This is an important setting to turn on when securing your devices.
- Change default passwords. On devices that are connected to your network you should always make sure you change the default password. It doesn't matter if it's a new security camera or a new fridge. Creating new credentials is the very first step in securing your devices and protecting your privacy. Research has shown that a “passphrase” is safer than a password. What does this mean? It means 1qaz!QAZ is less secure than Mydogsliketochasethechickensaroundtheyard! which is also much easier to remember.
- Set up multi-factor authentication (MFA). MFA security settings are growing in popularity. This is as simple as receiving a text or code that you need to type in while signing on to a system. Often times within the account preferences of your device, you can set up an Authentication Application. If you can’t find this option call customer service, chances are it exists somewhere.
- Take advantage of a password manager. Keep usernames and passwords unique. Most password manager applications can generate a random password for you, and will allow you to store them safely.
- Update default settings. Check to see which settings are turned on by default, especially if you don't know what they mean. If you are unfamiliar with "FTP" or "UPnP", chances are you are not going to use them, or even notice that they are off.
- Avoid public Wi-Fi. It may be convenient to connect to a public Wi-Fi network, but think again! If the network does not require a password, then anyone can listen in on your computer's information. Some public Wi-Fi networks are deliberately set up in the hopes that people will use it, so the network's administrator can steal information or credentials.