CyberSmart BW Tip Sheet of the Week – Protecting Your Device

There are a number of small things that really help keep you safe online, and for four weeks we will bring you each week one main area to focus on. The first is:

#Protect your device from online attack.

Would you answer yes to any or some of the following?

1. If you forget your phone or computer when you walk out of a room, would it be easy for someone to get into it?
2. Have you ever handed your phone to someone who needs to check their email or update their social media status?
3. Do other members of your family share your device?
4. When you go around town, do you get on the public wifi?
5. Do you sell your old phone when you need to upgrade?
6. Do you rarely back up your data?

If you have answered yes to any of the above, don’t worry, you’re normal. But each and every one of those activities can pose a risk. That isn’t to say you shouldn’t do them. But there are a few things that will help keep you safer when you do.

1. To keep your phone or computer safe in case anyone comes across it, use a screen lock and make sure it auto shuts down within 2 mins or less of non use. Better yet, set up finger ID if phone has this functionality. That way if someone finds your device, they can’t use it.
2. If you do let someone use your phone, remember if they download a virus or any kind of malware it will be your device that is infected. So, don’t do share unless you have to and ask them not to use it to download anything. Also make sure to log out of your own accounts first.
3. Not everyone is lucky enough to have their own device. But if you do have to share:
a. set up separate user profiles. And make sure each is password protected. That way if one person is hacked, not everyone’s data is going to be try to be compromised
b. agree rules to keep all users safe. The first of these is, only download and keep apps you really need. A lot of apps are designed simply to serve as malware – releasing viruses. So, don’t be overly willing to download. If you do download an app and find you’re not using it, delete them. And update all apps as soon as prompted. Often updates are brought out specifically to fix bugs and security vulnerabilities.
4. ‘Public’ wireless networks or hotspots mean that we can continue to be online in places like public transport, cafés, hotels and pubs. However, public wifi networks can be breached easily. And even though some public wifi networks will require a password, these will almost certainly not provide security through encryption. So when we log on using public networks, be aware that it is relatively easy for hackers to get in and ‘read’ what is being sent from your device so use encrypted apps and make sure any websites you visit are encrypted (there will be a padlock symbol in the browser bar). Be careful too about what you communicate.
5. When getting rid of a phone or other device, do so carefully. The data on your device can easily be accessed whether you sell, scrap, give away or donate it, and even ‘deleted’ data can be retrieved with relative ease by criminals. So delete everything (copying it first to your new device) and then go to apply the factory resetting option.
6. Finally, just remember, if you get a virus on your device, you could lose all your contacts, photos, datas etc. So do back it up regularly – on an external drive, the cloud or whatever. That way if you do lose it, all will not be lost.