New Devices for a New Year? How to Keep Them Safe from Hackers!

28 Jan

New Year – new devices

With the trend for giving mobile phones, tablets, iPads and other connected IoT (Internet of Things) devices as Christmas presents, many people are starting the year with new gadgets. Others invested in a whole range of new devices just to start the New Year on a fresh note. Regardless of how you got your new devices, do you know how to effectively protect them from hackers?

Let’s clarify one thing…the new device that you have got came with default settings, but those default settings don’t truly offer much in terms of cybersecurity. Sad but true.

If you impetuously took the device from its packaging and connected to the internet without taking into account the risks that you could expose ourself to, you could be wide open to a hack attack, malware, ransomware, and cyber-attack. Doesn’t sound fun, does it?

4 Ways to Protect Your New Device

Below are  tips to help you enjoy your new device without the risk.

  • Choose a strong password

Today’s cybercriminals don’t need to be particularly skilled to guess a password. People tend to choose a weak password like ‘1234’ or the name of their child, or even worse; their birthday. If the password is one that you use on another device or something that someone could guess with a bit of effort, you are off to a bad start. Choose a password that features a selection of numbers and letters and make it completely irrelevant to things in your life such as children, pets, and birthdays and so on.

  • Activate 2-factor authentication

If you haven’t heard of 2-factor authentication yet, now is the time to do a bit of research. 2-factor authentication safeguards against phishing pros guessing your password and then gaining access to your accounts. If they somehow manage to guess the password correctly, the system will send a text message to your mobile that requires a response in order to provide access. If it receives no response, no access is granted.

  • Take advantage of automatic updates

The manufacturer of your smartphone, laptop, computer, IoT device or tablet will periodically send out updates for the device. These updates are not time-wasters as people are prone to believe. Instead, they include necessary security updates that make it difficult or impossible for hackers to breach your security mechanisms. If you don’t update your device, hackers will be able to use known vulnerabilities to access your device’s files.

  • Do a factory reset before giving your device away or selling it

There comes a time in the lifespan of every device when it is just no longer wanted by its owner. This is the time to either pass it on to someone who will appreciate it more than you or sell it. Of course, it’s packed with your data and just deleting files isn’t doing enough to remove your sensitive information and passwords. The first thing you should do when you decide to get rid of a device is to restore it to its factory settings which will completely wipe it clean. You can also do this if you suspect your device has been infected, but you still want to use it – just be sure that you have done a complete backup to the cloud.

Last Word

Of course, if you have a device that stores sensitive information, you should be doing regular data encrypted backups to the cloud. This will ensure that if any of your data is ravaged by ransomware, you have an untainted copy on file. Make sure that 2020 is a year free from cybersecurity threats and the year that you are attentive, alert, and willing to take action to protect your own best interests.

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