With our third edition of this year’s E-zine, we thought it would be apt to dedicate the Director’s View column to the issue of cybersecurity and more specifically, how to help you navigate these dangerous digital times that we live in. Especially when it comes to your personal information and passwords. So in essence, our cyber team at First Technology has compiled the following vital tips & tricks to help you protect your data online!
Protecting yourself on social media: Ensure that your location tracking is switched off on your mobile device. Cybercriminals can use these “check-ins” to develop your pattern of life and to track your circle of trust. Also, avoid any form of surveys on social media.
The information that you provide may provide digital clues to what you may use for your password. For Facebook specifically, go to each configuration section and mark clearly the kind of personal information you want exposed publicly. Too many people are ignorant about the treasure trove of personal information being exposed on Facebook. Your likes, comments, photos, who may see it, etc.
Ensure that two-factor authentication is enabled for all of your on-line accounts and linked to your mobile phone. Especially your bank accounts, cryptocurrency exchanges and on-line shopping websites. Turning on an alert to notify you of logins outside of your normal login patterns may also be useful.
When you do need to fill in personal data on the web or social media, ensure that you do not provide identifiable information such as address, DOB or any financial information.
Ensure that you have a VPN enabled on all your devices and that your webcam is covered. Using a VPN ensures that your browsing is private, your online shopping is secure and that any location tracking is thwarted. A webcam is one of the easiest things for a criminal to hack.
Reboot your computer at least once a week and for good measure, your Wi-Fi router at home at least once a month. This removes temporary files that may contain sensitive data and clears the memory on the device. Any security updates requiring a reboot will also be deployed.
Be especially mindful when downloading software. Make sure that you have researched the software publisher to verify their trustworthiness and preferable download directly from the manufacturers’ website. Speaking of which, make double sure about the URL of the manufacturers’ website, as it is easy to fool people by spoofing the URL or landing pages. Obviously, ensure that your anti-virus is active before installing new software!
Wipe your Internet of Things (IOT) devices. Amazon Echo and Google Home devices record and store every question and command that you give them. This can reveal your daily activity patterns and for instance, how and when you arm your security system at home. Use the Amazon Alexa app to delete any history and recordings. Powering off these devices also removes any installed malware. Do this at least once a month.
Ensure your browsing sessions are encrypted! Always use HTTPS instead of HTTP in your URL field. This is a non-negotiable.
When you are not using Bluetooth on your device, disable it. Not only does this save power, but it is also possible to infiltrate a mobile phone using Bluetooth frequencies.
Buy a firewall for your home router. Your router at home is the primary entrance to your residence for hackers. At the very least, ensure that your default factory password on the router is changed to something secure and unique.
When your device prompts you for a software update, do not delay! It is the only way that developers can release a security patch against the latest threats or vulnerabilities on your device or operating system.
Finally, avoid public Wi-Fi like the plague! If you do not have a choice, ensure that VPN is running!
Our next Thought Leadership Breakfast on September 27 will specifically deal with the issue of Cybersecurity. Keep a lookout for your personal invite shortly!
Until next time, thank you for your continued support of First Technology Cape Town!
Johan de Villiers