The Cyber Dummy Starter Pack: 7 Simple Tips To Secure Your Device And Accounts

– Christy Loh –

Securing Your Device And Accounts

We are connected to the Internet via Wi-Fi all the time. When covering new ground, we dive straight into finding an open network to connect our devices to. But this often comes with the unbeknown risk that we may potentially be sending personal data to hackers.

This, like many other cyber threats, can easily be avoided with simple precautionary measures that do not require complex tech knowledge. Here are 7 tips on how you can secure your devices and accounts.

1. Keep your device’s software updated


We need to always ensure that our anti-virus software tools are up to date. Software updates help to fix security holes that are found in it. By keeping it updated, it helps improve stability and adds new features as well. These new features replace outdated ones and patch security flaws to block hackers.

Software updates also help to protect data by defending your devices from cybercriminals who try to bypass security measures and prevent your personal information from getting stolen.

2. Use VPN when connecting to foreign Wi-Fi networks


To protect ourselves, we should only connect to foreign Wi-Fi networks using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) as it encrypts our information. This means that your activity on the internet will be converted into unique codes that only your computer can register. The result: others on the same network as you will not be able to access your data and steal your private information.

Some secure VPNs we recommend include: NordVPN, ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, Surfshark, privateVPN.

3. Create strong passwords


In order to create strong passwords, you need to include lower and uppercase characters, at least one number and a special character. Your password needs to be at least 15 characters long to be considered secure. Above all, refrain from using the same password across multiple accounts. 

With technology becoming so advanced today, hackers are able to run mix-and-match software that can easily penetrate accounts with weak passwords. Some common examples of weak passwords include basic keyboard patterns and password reuse.

4. Share your location only with people you trust


Nowadays, we tend to post many things online without thinking. It is important to refrain from sharing your location and whereabouts on social media as you run the risk of getting stalked if you do so. Additionally, you should not post personal information like your phone number, emails and passwords as this could result in data theft.

A few tips you can take to protect yourself include:

  1. Reading fine print when registering or applying for social media accounts. Ensure you have autonomy over who you wish to share your device’s location with. If you don’t have rights to do so, ensure that it explicitly declares not to extract your location information.
  2. For Android, go to Menu>Settings>Location/Location and Security
  3. If you are using an iPhone, you can edit it under Settings>Location Services.

5.   Backup your data regularly


It is just as important to back your data up on an external hard drive as it is having a strong password. The last thing you want to experience is having your data stolen with no way of getting it back. 

Storing data in an external hard disk will ensure that you’ll always have a copy of your files, without the worry of it overwriting one another due to a lack of space. This will ensure that the data on your device stays secured, should it experience a viral attack.

6. Run security tests regularly


Running security tests are important as it helps identify security risks so that developers can fix them promptly. Some free apps that you should get acquainted to include Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP), Wfuzz and Wapiti. Some features of these security apps include firewalls, which acts like an electronic barricade that prevents hackers from getting in, and a reader that checks for coding errors in a website or application, which may potentially result in data theft.

It is common to assume that what we see is what we get; that our devices are running smooth as a nut when there are no evident threats. But the reality is that most viruses and bugs are now able to disguise itself and go about unnoticed without proper security tests.

7. Ensure emails received are legit before entertaining them

To verify if an email is legitimate, you can click the show details arrow located directly below the name of the sender. Ensure that the sender’s email address has a username or domain that matches its name. The subject is often very telling of the email’s integrity as well. Scam mails often have dubiously long strings of numbers and codes that look unprofessional.

If the message is unsolicited, do not click on any links as it may harm your device. Conduct a quick background check on the sender and the email’s content and ensure that it isn’t fraudulent.

Protecting Ourselves From Cyber Threats

While technology has certainly benefited us, there are also many out there who will take advantage of it. These 7 simple tips to secure your device and accounts should help you stay vigilant against such cybersecurity threats.

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