For years, people have been told the importance of keeping anti-virus software on their PCs. The need to keep these regularly updated so that you don’t accidentally get infected with malware has been impressed upon us.
But this ignores one of the newest problem areas when it comes to hacks and data breaches—mobile devices.
Mobile Devices Are the New Target for Cyber Criminals
Now, almost all of us carry a powerful computer around in our pockets in the form of a smartphone. And many pack a tablet such as an iPad with them everyday when they go to work or school.
These devices need to be protected just as much as your desktop or laptop computers. Likewise, one of the easiest ways to secure your devices—both mobile and computer—is to strengthen your passwords.
5 Ways to Protect Your Mobile Devices Against Hacking
- Set a PIN — One of the easiest ways to secure your phone is with a Personal Identification Number or PIN. With a PIN, it should be a random number sequence that will protect your physical phone if it’s lost or stolen. It should not be something easily guessable such as “1111”, your birthday, anniversary or the birthday of your children.
- Set a Security Question — When you log-in to your mobile account, you need to have a security question established. Answers to security questions should not be easily searchable. If your security question is the name of an influential teacher in high school, this isn’t something you should post on social media. Facebook is notorious for having people post questions like this—share memories of your favorite teacher or first pet. But hackers can use these posts to figure out your security question answers.
- Be Careful of Apps — Before you install an app, look at the reviews and know exactly what you’re installing. Many apps contain malicious codes and malware that are infecting phones as well as other devices, opening them up to hackers. Only install apps from reputable companies that you know you can trust.
- Limit Permissions — When you install an app, it will ask for permission to access certain parts of your device, such as contacts or location monitoring. Be very careful about allowing these permissions. Some apps monitor data, even though they don’t require to it to function, and this data can be stolen by hackers.
- Don’t Use Public Wi-Fi — Many of us love the convenience of public Wi-Fi. But most of these networks are not secured in any way and if you log in to one, your personal data could be up for grabs if a hacker is on the network. If you do use a public wireless network, protect yourself with a VPN (Virtual Private Network), which reroutes your connection and protects you from being tracked online.
3 Ways to Protect Your Passwords from Being Hacked
- Make Your Password Secure — It’s essential that your passwords for any log-in are as strong as possible. This means the password should be at least 12 characters long with a mix of lowercase and capital letters, numbers, and symbols such as punctuation marks. The best passwords are random. Never use something a hacker can figure out with general knowledge of you, such as a spouse, child’s name or something as easy as “123456.”
- Limit Logins — If a password is too simple, a hacker may use a random password generator to try all the different combinations until they get the right one. This can take only a matter of minutes. To prevent this, you can limit the number of logins on the account. After five failed attempts to login, the account is locked, and you will have to get it opened by your administrator.
- Set-Up Two Factor Authentication — With two factor authentication (2FA), you login to your account as usual entering the username and password. Then, the system will do a second check to make sure it’s you by sending a passcode to your cell phone through a text message. This way, a hacker may be able to get access to your password, but they would have to do that AND get their hands on your actual physical cellphone before they could get access to your account.
Now More Than Ever, Stay Alert and Be Vigilant Against Hackers
In order to truly protect yourself on the Internet, it’s essential you protect all aspects of your online presence. This includes your mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets as well as the passwords that you use to access your accounts. Hackers are targeting these in greater number and the odds are that this trend will only continue to grow.
INSUREtrust is committed to keeping you digitally safe. To learn even more about the details of preparing your company for a cyber-attack, download our free Incident Response Plan Guide. Have questions? Contact us for a free consultation.