It is likely that over half of the UK will have received at least one new electronic gadget in their stocking for Christmas, and are probably still getting to grips with it. It is important to remember that you need to keep new gadgets protected from thieves and hackers that are on the prowl for your private information.
Here are our top tips for ensuring that you keep your data safe on your new devices:
- Security Software – If you have received a new PC or Laptop for Christmas, security software or anti-virus software will help protect it from viruses and phishing scams. Unlike mobile phones, PC’s and Laptops generally do not have built in security software so it is especially important that you take your own steps to protect your data. A good security system will also back-up and restore files when necessary and have the ability to lock and wipe devices if they are unexpectedly stolen or lost, as well as being able to locate them on a map.
- Back-up your software – Regularly back-up your laptop, tablet, or smartphone so that your important data is not lost if your device goes missing, is stolen, or hacked.
- Password protect your devices – Always use a password for your devices, ensuring that the password is at least eight characters long with a mixture of upper and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols so it can’t be easily guessed.
- Be mindful when shopping online – Always check that the website you are buying from is secure. If you are paying online check the URL begins with ‘https’ and the browser bar will contain a padlock symbol. It is also a good idea to avoid using public Wi-Fi for online shopping.
- Don’t install too many apps – Check the reviews of any apps that you would like to download to see if there are any comments about bugs. Download your apps from reputable app stores only.
- Turn on Wi-Fi only when you need it – Leave your Wi-Fi turned off unless you are connecting to a known network. Connecting to unknown networks can leave your devices and your data vulnerable.
- Log out of your applications when you’re not using them – Always log out of any social networking or payment sites when you are finished on them, as well as any other apps. If your device is lost or stolen and you are still logged in to different apps and social media accounts, you are leaving your device and in turn yourself vulnerable to people accessing your private information.
- Last but not least, always be cautious! – When you travel or take your devices out of your home, always be mindful of your surroundings and try not to have your valuable devices out and in sight.
By following these 8 tips, the risk of becoming a victim of data theft falls significantly, so you are free to enjoy your shiny new gadget (or gadgets!) without worry.