Security Mistakes to Avoid

Is it secret, is it safe?

In today’s world, we are digitally connected almost all day, every day. Even when we are not using our devices, we can still be logged in to various online accounts, meaning that we are constantly exposed to cyber criminals. Too many people still believe that only governments and organisations are the victims of cyberattacks and that they are not vulnerable as individuals. However, your personal information is incredibly valuable to cybercriminals, therefore you must protect yourself against attack. That starts with securing your PC and home network.

The first thing you should do on a new PC is to change the password because the default password on a new PC (or sometimes there is no password) makes it ridiculously easy for a hacker to get in. If you already have a password on your local or Microsoft account, make sure it’s a strong one.

Probably the most important password to change immediately is the access password, or the password to your home Wi-Fi network. As a rule, your access password should be a minimum of fifteen characters, and it should include letters, digits, and punctuation marks.

To minimise the risk of data loss, use a Cloud service for data backup. The best cloud services will encrypt your backups and automate the entire process. Any data you store in the cloud will be far more secure than if it were stored on a hard drive. Do note that cloud applications need to be protected with a very strong password as well.

If your router has an option to update its firmware automatically, turn it on. It is more difficult for your router to block new threats if the firmware is not kept up to date. Your router should reboot automatically once the firmware has been applied. If not, hold down the reset button on the back of it for at least ten seconds. The lights will flicker on and off to indicate that the device has been successfully rebooted.

Set up a guest network for visitors to use so that should your guests inadvertently bring around malware when connecting to your network, your main network will not become infected. You can use a simpler password for your guest network, which can be changed regularly. It is also worth putting all your smart home devices on the guest home network so if one of them is compromised, it won’t be on the same network as your PCs. Many of them have poor security and could become entry points for hackers to access your other devices.

Philip Brooks