Are you anticipating a new computer, tablet, smartphone, or other gadget under your tree? Protect your new device right out of the box — and your old device too — with these security tips:
- Lock your device
Secure your devices with a strong password, pattern or biometric authentication. This will ensure that if you happen to lose your device, the average criminal wouldn’t be able to access your personal information.
- Set up two-factor authentication (2FA) services
This additional layer of protection prevents hackers from accessing your accounts, even if they obtain your login and password information via a phishing or smishing scam or malicious website. For information on 2FA at NC State, including how to enroll new devices, see Two Factor Auth (2FA). Many online service providers offer some form of 2FA, so be sure to enroll or add your new device. See Two Factor Auth (2FA).
- Apply security updates
Manufacturers and application developers update their code to fix weaknesses and vulnerable code. Apply these security updates as soon as possible to ensure you’re fixing the identified weaknesses.
- Install antivirus software
To detect viruses and other malware, install antivirus software if it is available for your device. Also enable automatic updating of the software to incorporate the most recently identified threats.
- Be careful when downloading apps
Make sure you trust the app providers and download your apps only from trusted sources, such as the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store, as they are proactive about removing malicious apps to protect users.
- Beware of free public Wi-Fi
These networks are open to the public and visible by anyone within a nearby range, so you shouldn’t perform an important action (e.g., banking transaction) online. If you need to access your account, disable the Wi-Fi and switch to your mobile network.
- Disable unwanted and unneeded services
Disable applications or features that you don’t use. Capabilities, such as Bluetooth and network connections, provide convenience, but they can also make it too easy for a nearby, unauthorized user to gain access to your data. Be sure to turn these features off when you’re done using them.
If you plan to purchase a device for someone on your holiday list, beware of holidays scams and spear phishing. The holidays are a perfect time for cyber criminals to attempt to steal your personal information. If the deal sounds too good to be true, it’s probably a scam. Also, be wary of emails or text messages requesting your personal data, money or assistance.
Use caution and follow these tips to help secure your devices and protect your information.