Drinking less and quitting smoking or taking out that Gym membership (that will last for a week) are all pretty standard new year’s resolutions, but what about keeping your data backed up? Or changing your passwords for more secure ones?
They certainly aren’t traditional resolutions but with the number of breaches witnessed in 2016, the new year is a great excuse to polish up your personal IT security.
Here are 5 instant tips to becoming more secure in 2017.
Change your passwords
Weak or predictable passwords like “password123” or “123456789” are bad, but those weak passwords being used on multiple websites or account at the same time is a major no-no.
Even using a super secure password made up of numbers, capital letters, lowercase letters and symbols re-used on multiple websites will not ensure password security. There have been many recent breaches, which are being blamed on passwords being reused and obtained via other breaches.
You could slog through your accounts and change your passwords, but how are you possibly going to remember all those complex passwords? Cue the password manager.
A password manager helps you create, remember and store your super secure passwords in a super secure ‘vault’ of sorts. The only password you need to remember is your ‘master password’ for accessing your password vault.
I use 1Password, which is good value and offers the opportunity not only to securely store passwords but vital documents such as Passport, Driving Licence and your will!!
Backup, again and again
Backup is the best way to combat ransomware, full stop. If you have a recent backup and you get hit with ransomware, it’s not a problem just tell them to get lost and restore.
If you don’t have a backup, or you haven’t been keeping that backup up-to-date, then kiss goodbye to your files.
If you only have a few files which you want to keep safe then perhaps manually backing up to an external hard drive or USB memory stick might be sufficient.
If you have a large volume of files, like photos or videos, then doing it manually can become a chore. Luckily, there’s plenty of software out there which can automate your backups. Microsoft and Apple offer good value cloud solutions or you can buy a personal cloud solutions from a vendor like Western Digital
That’s right, your handy smartphone needs protecting too! It’s time to stop thinking of your smartphone as a phone and start thinking of it as a small PC which you take everywhere (particularly if you’re using an Android device).
Malware targeting Android-based devices has increased significantly over the past few years, so ensuring mobile security by getting some form of anti-malware protection is a must have a look at this link.
An Early Spring Clean
In the UK we’re still in the depths of winter. However, it’s never too early for a bit of a spring clean.
We’re talking about cleaning up those programmes you downloaded and never used. Not only will you free up some memory but you’re closing down a potential avenue for attack, as un-patched software always is a potential threat.
Whilst you’re at it, perhaps try getting rid of Flash Player and Java.
Flash and Java are two of the most vulnerable pieces of software in existence and have been used frequently as a backdoor attack.
This one is for more sophisticated users who want to make sure their data is ultra secure, particularly data-in-transit.
Ever left a memory stick just lying around? How about your laptop? Ever lost, misplaced or had it stolen? If your data isn’t encrypted, then there is very little stopping someone accessing it.
Encryption essentially scrambles your data, making it completely unreadable to anyone who doesn’t possess the correct credentials or password.
If you store private photos, personal documents or financial information on your laptop, a memory stick, or even your PC then encryption is worth looking into. Here is a link to a great article on the subject