Protect Your Device and Data
Now that you’ve considered how to protect yourself in a digital world, let’s focus some attention on your device. Many of us have more than one digital device, and this advice can apply to all your gadgets.
Your iPad requires a password of at least 8 alpha-numeric characters and a special character. This is so others can’t log in or access your data without your knowledge and to ensure your data won’t be breached in the case of loss or theft. We recommend you use a password or passcode on all your devices at all times, not just your iPad. It’s important that you use a unique password for each of your accounts and devices. Having trouble remembering your passwords? Consider a password manager.
Backing Up Your Data
It’s important for your data to be stored in multiple locations in case you lose your device, get a virus, damage your device, software fails, or other unexpected situations. Consider what data is critical to you (i.e. pictures, documents, or text messages) and have a plan in place to back it up regularly and ensure that you can recover it if you ever need to. You can use a physical storage device like an external hard drive or cloud service like OneDrive. All storage options have their advantages and disadvantages (link to file backups), choose a method you’re most likely to use consistently.
Antivirus is software designed to find known viruses and malware that can have a detrimental impact to your device or data. It’s the first line of defense for your devices. If you have a laptop or desktop computer, consider using antivirus software as the basics. Visit the IT Service Desk for help with AntiVirus software.
Physical Device Security
It’s good practice to make sure your devices are with you or locked in a secure place. Lock your doors if you live in a large building where items could be stolen and ensure that the friend who’s watching your device while you step away is trustworthy.
Computer software changes frequently. While this can be annoying and distracting, it’s important to install all software updates promptly. Often, companies release updates to address vulnerabilities in the software. By keeping your systems and software up-to-date, you help add a layer of protection and make yourself a more difficult target.
Remove Unused Apps
Apps ask for all sorts of permission to your device, location and data. Don’t download something you don’t trust and delete apps that you don’t use. Apps may be exporting data from your device without your knowledge, eating up your data and battery life in the process.
Just like having a monthly deep-clean of your home, it is a good idea to have a regular “cleaning” of your mobile device.
Limit App Permissions
It is important for you to understand what permissions apps are seeking and how those apps might use your data and device. For example, if an app has permissions for your contact list, it can read your entire contact list. You can control what information an app has access to as well as what functions of the device the app can use by limiting permissions. This will improve your privacy as well as prevent any unintended or malicious activity from being generated by an app.
Secure Your Browser
Web browsers are usually not configured to be secure by default. As such, they are often the target of cyber-attacks. Always be sure to keep browsers updated by turning on auto-update if it’s available. As versions get older, the chance of vulnerabilities being exploited increases. Make sure to review your privacy and security settings of your browser-of-choice before surfing the sensitive sites like your bank or your social media accounts.