7 Simple Ways to Protect Your Devices from Being Hacked

 

In 2017, several data breaches and cyber attacks were reported from January through December. These incidents involved businesses from different niches – healthcare, telecommunications, hotels, restaurants, video gaming, IT, etc. If hackers can get into large companies without being detected before it’s too late, it is easier for them to get into an individual’s personal devices.

It’s 2018 and it’s time that you learn how to protect your personal devices from hackers who want to steal your personal information and eventually rob you of your money.

Here are 5 simple things you can do to protect your personal devices:

1.   Delete All Unnecessary Apps on Your Devices

In 2016 alone, consumers around the world downloaded 149.3 billion mobile apps to their devices. It is very tempting to try out as many apps as you want, especially if they are free. What you may not be aware of, is the fact that there are some third-party apps that may be accessing your personal information. For example, you want to download an online game. This type of app usually asks permission to have access to some of your information. Most users just click, “Allow” or “Accept” automatically. For many apps, this is fine. However, there are certain apps that may be selling your personal information. Several users even forget about what app they’ve downloaded and subscribed to and these apps may have accessed your sensitive information.

To avoid this, you should delete all unnecessary apps on your devices. Go through all your apps and if you have not been using apps for about three to six months, then, it is not important and it is just taking up space on your device. Do this regularly, at least once a year. In some cases, you may have to go back to the app’s website to request that your account be deleted from their database.

2.   Your software should always be up-to-date

When there is an update for your operating system, antivirus, web browsers, internet router, or password management app, download and install it right away. These updates are developed to improve your software and enhance security. Older software tends to have certain weaknesses and if you don’t update it immediately, hackers may be able to get into your device and access your sensitive information.

In 2014, almost 50% of companies that suffered a cyber attack were hit by hackers who took advantage of systems that have not been updated at the time. In 2017, WannaCry ransomware affected over 200,000 Windows computers in 150 countries. It was believed to have been spread by getting people to download it through email. Experts found that if the systems affected had only downloaded the latest Microsoft security update at the time, the malware would not have gotten into the computers.

3.   Take time to read privacy policies before downloading software

According to a Pew Research Center, approximately 52% of American internet users incorrectly believed that a privacy policy “ensures that the company keeps confidential all the information it collects on users.”

This misconception clearly shows that many people do not read privacy policies. Just because the word privacy is in there, some users just assumed that the company was reassuring them that their data will remain confidential.

Most people do not read privacy policies because they are long, too legalistic and to some, just too boring. But it is important to read these policies for your own protection.

Take the case involving Unroll.me. This service helps reduce inbox clutter for Gmail and Google Apps users by unsubscribing the user from unwanted email subscriptions from legitimate senders. Since everyone receives newsletters and promotional messages from different businesses, this service was welcomed by many people.

However, subscribers found out in May 2017 that their inboxes had also been mined for data and Unroll.me resold it to its clients, most notable of which is data sold to Uber. The company bought information about Lyft, its main rival, from Unroll.me.

Many were outraged but soon learned that the privacy policy of Unroll.me clearly states, “We may collect, use, transfer, sell, and disclose non-personal information for any purpose.” It also says, “We may collect and use your commercial transactional messages and associated data to build anonymous market research products and services with trusted business partners.”

4.   Subscribe to a VPN (Virtual Private Network)

A VPN or Virtual Private Network can help give you anonymity by cloaking your browsing activities from your internet provider. Each device you use has a unique IP address. When you are online, your service provider can see which devices you are using and what sites you visit.

When you use VPN software, your devices connect to a VPN provider’s servers where all your web traffic passes through the VPN provider’s internet connection – a virtual tunnel that shields your browsing activities from your ISP.

The disadvantage of using a VPN, however, is that it slows down internet speeds considerably. In addition, some apps do not work properly when your device is connected to a VPN. However, VPNs can also protect you when you connect to an open Wi-Fi network in public places like a mall or airport.

5.   Lock all apps on your device

Just in case someone successfully steals your device, don’t make it easy for the thief to access your apps. Lock all your apps individually especially mobile wallets and online shopping apps. Some devices come with a built-in app locking feature. Some apps also have a built-in locking functionality.

6.   Use a PIN/password on your device

Don’t make your devices easily accessible even to individuals who just want to take a look at what’s on your device without your permission. Use a PIN/password to protect your device. If it has a fingerprint or facial recognition feature, use it. The few seconds that you need to do this will go a long way in keeping your device safe from prying eyes and may help deter thieves from stealing your device.

7.   Don’t forget to protect your hardware

Today’s smartphones are more expensive compared to earlier models. They have larger screens, higher resolution, and are equipped with faster operating systems. Unfortunately, they are not more durable compared to their predecessors. In fact, the larger screen makes today’s smartphones more susceptible to breakage. For this reason, you need to invest in affordable accessories such as a case and screen protector. A screen protector will protect screens from scratches and a sturdy case will protect your phone from nicks and scratches and help absorb impact in case you drop your device.

For more news and tips regarding cybersecurity, visit Netswitch today.

The post 7 Simple Ways to Protect Your Devices from Being Hacked appeared first on Netswitch Technology Management.



This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog post authored by Press Release. Read the original post at: News and Views – Netswitch Technology Management