Security Tips

      

Security Tips

The use of computers and mobile devices is on the increase.  Access to the web has enabled people to turn to the Internet for various reasons; it is now possible to shop or bank online.  The convenience brought by these devices also exposes Internet users to hackers.  Devices are becoming obsolete quickly, and people change them quite often.

In the course of using your device, a lot of personal information is recorded.  If the device is not disposed of properly, the stored information will be available to people who might use it to defraud you.  As an owner of these devices, you have a duty to protect your personal details from unauthorized people.  Using strong passwords or pass phrases, and changing them occasionally, may be one way of protecting your details online.

Enjoy the conveniences of Online Banking while remaining safe by utilizing the tips outlined below.

Proper Security of Your Devices

You probably own an electronic device such as a tablet, smartphone or laptop that you use to conduct various transactions online.  While these devices interest hackers and other criminals, you are the biggest threat to it if you have not taken enough measures to make it secure.  Suppose you lose it or leave it with a nosy friend and the screen is unlocked.  If either of these scenarios happen, chances are other people will have access to your sensitive information.  The best thing you can do to secure your devices is to enable automatic lock screens - so your screen will only be accessible by entering a (strong) password after a period of device inactivity.

Here are some additional tips to secure your devices:

- Install or activate tracking software to ensure you can see your device over the web in case it's lost or stolen.  With this software activated, in some cases, you can wipe all the data contained in the device if it cannot be recovered.

- Enable automatic updates for the operating system software.  When manufacturers know there is a software vulnerability, they will usually push out a software update to 'patch' where a potential hacker could have exploited the device.

- Be careful when configuring your new device for the first time.  The main concern in this regard is to disable location tracking of your device.

- Synchronization of your apps is good, but the same information you shared may appear on other devices without your knowledge.

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- Do not hack into your devices as this will make all the security controls you have enabled useless.  Bypassing your controls means the device is vulnerable to hackers.

- Avoid downloading apps from untrusted sources.

- Discard any apps you no longer use on your device.

- Review and set privacy options for any new app you download.

- Download apps that you need and not just because everyone has them.

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Backup Recovery

The convenience of computers has made them useful for many purposes.  Plenty of data is stored in electronic devices, but what happens when you have problems with your gadget?

When this happens, not only will your digital life be disrupted, but, you may also lose valuable data.  However, with regular data backups, data loss can be avoided.  Backups can be done manually or automatically.  A backup will help you retrieve your data and move on with your usual activities.

The following are steps you can take to prevent data loss:

- Identify what you want to back up: Is it just the data or everything on your devices including the programs you want to back up?

- Determine where you will be backing it up: You can store it in an external device or consider cloud storage.

- Determine how often you will be backing up: The frequency will be determined by the volume of data you generate; but recurring backups are highly recommended.

- Establish that the process of retrieving the stored data is effective.

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- Store the backup in a different place.

- Restrict access to the location where you keep the backed up data; only authorized people should access it, only when it is required.

- Make more than one copy and store them in different locations.

- Ensure all backups are updated with any new information.

- Have a durable and hardy device to use for the backup to ensure the data remains safe.

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Email Safety

Email communication is commonly used despite its lack of privacy protection. An email message is like a postcard in that anyone who gets access to it can read it. The moment you send an email, you can no longer control it. It can be shared on social media or forwarded to others. If it is incriminating, it can be used in a court of law as evidence against you, many countries allow the use of emails as evidence.

You can improve email security by:

- Avoid sending personal emails using the computer at work as they can be monitored by the employer.

- Find out about the policy of your employer on sending personal emails from your work computer.

- Use the phone or write a letter when you need to communicate private matters.

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- Cease from sending sensitive information by email.

- Keep your email passwords secret - your email is private and no one else should have access to it.

- Limit access of your work computer from your colleagues.

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Proper Disposal of Devices

You have acquired the latest mobile device available on the market. You may decide to discard your old device - but hold on a moment!

Do you care about the amount of personal data you have on the old gadget?

Mobile devices store plenty of information about you - more than you can probably imagine - and when you just throw it away, you expose your data to hackers.  Disposing of the device may include giving it to a relative or friend.

Before you dispose of it you need to do the following:

- Back up all the data as you may need some of it later.

- Erase all information in it; erasing the data means it is not recoverable, versus data that is deleted - deleted info can still be recovered using tools available online.

- The best way to clear everything is to use the 'factory reset' function on your device which leaves it in the same condition as it was when the device was new.

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Password/Passphrase Tips

Passwords are supposed to ensure digital safety. However, despite the best efforts made by consumers, many hackers still find a way around them and access the information we regard as private. Weak passwords are easily targeted and offer hackers a huge opportunity. Using strong passwords is the best way to protect your information. The strength of a password is enhanced by the combination of different characters, caps, letters and numbers, making it difficult to guess, but long passwords can offer challenges as they are hard to remember.

Here are tips to maximize password/passphrase security:

- Use easy to remember phrases, such as WeAreinDowntownBeaverDam.

- Avoid using the same phrase for different accounts.

- Generate plenty of phrases that you can easily remember.

- Change your phrase or password after using it on a different device than your normal access point.

- Do not share your passwords and phrases, this can be risky.

To Dos

- Change your passwords regularly.

- Memorize the passwords or passphrases instead of writing them down.

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