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Guest Post by Emily William
Technological advances have made for exciting possibilities to cultivate your own digital world, encompassing anything from you place of work to your bedroom. However, with all of these advances comes a greatly elevated risk of breaches of digital security. Sometimes advanced technology becomes available for the consumer before tech security companies have even been told what it is they need to be securing. It’s crucial that people are aware that the more your world is dominated by technology, the more you have to work at keeping that all secure.
With so much uncertainty surrounding smart security, here are five things you can do to defend against attacks:
1. Understand your tech
Technology is an area in which it is quite easy to get in quite deep while still not really knowing all that much about what it is you own. It’s your responsibility to ensure that every purchase you make, whether that be connecting smart cameras to your house or even just downloading an app on your phone, is made with a comprehensive understanding of the implications of inviting that tech into your life. With uncertainty comes vulnerability and a lack of security.
2. Secure your router
As the point of access for you and all of your smart items to communicate with one another, your router is also the first place that a cyber criminal might go to gain access to everything you have. “Routers are vulnerable, and there have been several instances of hackers gaining access to IoT devices and subsequently accessing personal accounts through undefended routers. Invest in security software for your router and ask your provider what you could be doing differently to ensure there are no breaches,” says Sarah O’Neil, Security Manager at Australia2Write and BritStudent.
3. Stay away from public and unknown Wi-Fi
It can be tempting when you’re eager to avoid the high tariffs imposed on you by your cell provider to jump on a café network, or even just some Wi-Fi network without a security key. Whenever possible, don’t do this. It sets you up for vulnerability to whoever else has access to that network. Most computers will ask you to describe the nature of the network when you log on, but on your smartphone, you’re just a few taps away from being in an unfamiliar network and within the grasp of cybercriminals.
4. Be smart about passwords
Despite how much we rely on passwords, people still frequently go wrong with them. “As hard as it is to believe, lots of cybercrime is as simple as an amateur hacker trying out common password combinations until he gets one right”, says Ronan Buckley, Data Analyst at 1day2write and WriteMyx. Passwords with ‘1234’, birthdays, names, and other easily accessible personal information are extremely inviting for most low-level cybercriminals. Furthermore, even if you have a clever, obscure password, you should change it frequently and, as much of a pain as it can be, you shouldn’t use the same password for two different things. If one of your passwords is compromised, by having unique passwords for each device, you are, at the least, not giving up all of your devices.
5. Review and review and review again
Again, this might seem the antithesis of the ease that most smart devices are meant to bring into your life, but if you can get into the habit of regularly maintaining your smart and IoT devices, you reduce your risk of a security breach enormously. Make sure your hardware is current, that you have updated your software to the latest version. Check for any outages or loss of connection that might have happened, as these present an opportunity for a wily cybercriminal. Watch over your devices carefully, and you’ll always be in a good position to avoid them being exploited.
The bottom line
Cybersecurity can seem very daunting. What’s more, it is becoming more and more important. But provided that you know that your safety is in your hands or, at the least, in the hands of someone you have contracted to take care of it, you will save yourself a lot of trauma and heartbreak further down the line.
Emily Williams works as a passionate marketing and technology specialist and writer at Academic Brits. She loves getting engaged with the readers who are seeking information on marketing and technology, startups, brand development, and personal growth at Origin Writings. With more than five years of experience, she enjoys supporting smart people achieve their goals.