5 things you can do to make yourself more secure today

Being cyber secure can seem like a really complicated topic but it doesn’t need to be.

Our 5 simple steps to being personally more cyber secure are a great place to start.

Following even just one of them, that you aren’t doing at the moment, will make you instantly more cyber secure than you are now.

If you would like an offline version you can download a PDF here (don’t worry, there’s not a sneaky pop-up that will force you enter any personal details, we want you to be more secure not spammed!).

The 5 things are:

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that the three or four passwords that you use for different things (especially the really simple one for accounts that ‘don’t matter’) are keeping you safe.

Hackers take passwords from hacked sites, or go phishing to trick you into revealing them, and then try them out on multiple sites. Having a different password for every site you use stops hackers breaking into other sites you use.

Top tip: Google “Create a secure password” to find a method of creating a secure password that works for you

(If you are not convinced the social experiment below, whilst amusing, may help change your mind!)

Two Factor Authentication (or 2FA) means that you are required to provide an additional piece of information (normally a code sent by text or one generated by an app on your phone) in addition to your username and password to log into a website.

This is supported by most online services and many ecommerce websites and is a great way to make you much more secure.

Even if someone has your username and password if they don’t have access to your phone they can’t get the additional code needed to login.

Top tip: Google “How do I set up 2FA on website name?” to learn how to set it up for the sites you use

Password Managers are software that work across browsers and mobile devices that securely store and sync all your passwords in one place. They make it easy for you to use unique and secure passwords for all the sites you use.

Password Managers use very high levels of security to keep your data safe, are constantly updating their security to ensure that it stays that way, and so are much safer than not using unique or secure passwords.

You generally use a master password to access a Password Manager so there’s only one password you need to remember (make sure you choose a very secure one for this!) as the software keeps track of all the others you use.

Each time you want to log into a website or mobile app you use the Password Manager to auto complete your login details, making the process of using unique, secure passwords quick and simple to do.

Three leading password managers are (there are many more):

LastPass – https://www.lastpass.com/
1Password – https://1password.com/
Enpass – https://www.enpass.io/

You can see a comparison at: http://www.androidauthority.com/lastpass-vs-1password-vs-enpass-792139

Top tip: You don’t need to try and add all your passwords to your Password Manager in one go, simply add them the next time you log in to a website that you haven’t already saved

All software needs regular updating ensure that it is protected against the latest threats.

When a new threat is discovered software companies typically create a way to stop it and issue this as a software update to protect against the new threat.

Attackers frequently target known problems in older versions of software as they know that many people don’t regularly update their software.

Most operating systems and programmes have an auto update feature built into them so that you don’t have to remember to check for the latest ones.

Turn it on and always accept the updates to keep yourself more secure.

Top tip: Google “How do I turn on auto updates in software name?” to learn how to do it for software you have

Store your important files, photo and data on an external hard drive as well as on your computer, mobile device and in the cloud.

External hard drives are cheap to buy and easy to use. Buy one, plug it into your computer and back up everything that matters to you from your computer and your mobile device onto it and then unplug it until you need to use it the next time.

You should do this even if you already store your data in the cloud via services like iCloud, OneDrive and Dropbox etc. as there’s always a risk that if you fall victim to ransomware or they have issues your data in the cloud will be affected too.

Using an external hard drive means that if the worst does happen you’ll have a recent copy of your data saved offline to help you get things back to normal.

Top tip: Use the back-up drive as regularly as makes sense for you personally to keep your stored data up to date

Contact us

If you’d like to learn more about cyber security no matter what level you feel you are at (or even if you aren’t sure where to begin) feel free to contact us for a friendly chat.

Whether you have a specific requirement, a question you'd like answered or would just like an informal chat, contact us.

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