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Three tips to easy cyber security

Business 15-09-2019

Whether you’re booking holidays, checking e-mails on the go, or monitoring your health on a fitness tracker, these are just a few things we all do as we are constantly connected to the internet from our phone, tablet or laptop.

But have you thought about how secure you really are when you’re online?  Leading cyber security expert Vikram Singh of Digital Security shares some simple tips to keep your sensitive client information and private life away from snoopers.

1. Free public Wi-Fi? Don’t count on it being safe

Public Wi-Fi in places like airports, restaurants and hotels might be wonderfully convenient.  But when you connect to that ‘legitimate-looking’ hotspot, how can you be sure it really belongs to the bar or the conference venue?

Someone could hack the cafe Wi-Fi, or even set up a trap by using a fake network name that you might innocently connect to. This can then be used to snoop on your activity.  It’s actually much better to use your mobile data network to connect rather than using public Wi-Fi.

If you want additional security you can use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) which creates a secure internet connection from wherever you are back into your home or office network.  Once you’ve connected to the VPN, everything you do online happens as though you were back at home or work.  A criminal on the same Wi-Fi network won’t be able to see your what you’re doing online.

2. Turn off as many geo-tagging and geolocation features as you can

Apps such as Twitter and Instagram use geo-tagging, which is where the app asks your phone for your location, and includes it in your post.  Even if you have GPS turned off, your phone can still work out where you are by keeping track of all the Wi-Fi access points it can see around you.

Before you post, think about whether everyone needs to know where you are.  Criminals from your home town may see you’re away and take the opportunity to burgle your vacant property. No one needs to know where you and your family are, especially if you have children.  

3. Wrap yourself in layers of protection

When you’re going out in the cold, you add extra layers of clothing.  Why not do the same for your security and privacy?

Instead of ignoring prompts to update patches on your device, turn on auto-updating for your gadgets and applications.  If you don’t keep them up to date you’re turning yourself into low-hanging fruit for criminals.

Fortify your accounts wherever possible, by using two-factor authentication. This adds another layer to the login process, such as entering a one-time code sent to your phone.  A lot of websites and apps like Gmail and Instagram offer two-factor authentication, so even if someone steals your password they need to go through another step before accessing your account.

It’s a good idea to have multiple layers of protection, so if one layer fails, you’ve got a backup. Remember, cyber security doesn’t isn’t just for those in the tech world and have to be boring or awash with jargon.  It’s very important to protect us all, and just a few extra precautions can save you a lot of money and mental burden if things go wrong.

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