Most of us are regularly exchanging data over networks with organisations, people and devices. With cyber-attacks becoming more common, strategic and methodologically diverse, I’m amazed by how many people take their online security for granted and don’t implement some very basic cyber security controls. The following are a few simple steps to increase your cyber security.
1. Use a password manager
If you can memorise your passwords, they probably aren’t unique enough to be secure. A password manager allows you to generate random alphanumerical strings and then log into websites automatically. I use 1Password – another example includes KeePass 2 and Dashlane. Keepass 2 allows you to encrypt your passwords too!
2. Get a VPN
You should use a virtual private network (VPN) whenever you connect to an unknown Wi-Fi network, or are planning on visiting a site that you don’t want recorded in your browser history.
VPNs provide secure connection over the Internet between users and websites, and encrypt the data exchanged across the connection. I use IP Vanish VPN – other examples include ExpressVPN and VyprVPN.
3. Install a device tracking service
The basic inbuilt services your phone may have are great, but dedicated device tracking products give another level of functionality. You can remotely access your device via data or SMS services to get the location, wipe data, take photos of thieves and notify authorities. Some can also trigger a super loud sound in your house to help you locate your phone under a pile of washing. Note that these services can be used to, well… track your location… so make sure you only pick a reputable service that won’t on-sell your location data.
I use Prey – other examples include Cerberus.
4. Set your social media accounts to private
Cyber criminals can learn a lot about you from social media such as where you or your children go to school, where you live or go to work and when you’re on vacation. Identity theft is real, as are many other horrendous crimes that transgress the digital/reality barrier. Setting your accounts to private and only adding or accepting connections from people you know and trust will help protect you.
5. Block website tracking services
Most websites are using or have exposure to ‘trackers’ which follow your browsing Web habits and learn about you – usually for targeted advertising. You can block online tracking by using a few extensions in your browser. I use Ghostery (and yes, I may have initially chosen it because of its name). Other examples include Disconnect and Privacy Badger.
The Cordelta security team can assist you with preparing and responding to online attacks. Contact us for further details.