9 Hot Tips for keeping your data safe in the Summer Heat
Here are some Tips on how to protect yourself from cyber risks during the Summer. You go on holiday, but the cyber criminals don’t.
In the heat of Summer, we tend to relax a little more and let our guard down. With the promise of sunshine and warm weather, who wouldn’t want to just throw open the windows and leave their data exposed?
Email is the number one route for data breaches and Summer is a great time for scammers to go on the hunt for sensitive data. If you see an email from a bank or utility provider asking you to reset your password, be suspicious. Why would they be asking you to reset a password you didn’t know you had?
Emails from a ‘spoofed’ address (a fake email address) or an address not associated with the company are a dead giveaway for a scam. Keep an eye out for suspicious language in emails too. Phishing emails often sound very professional and formal but have wording that is slightly off or is overly precise.
Be wary of any emails that include a request for your personal information (like your social security number or passwords), or that come from an unknown source. If you receive a suspicious email, don’t click on any links or open attachments.
Ditch the Remote-Access Apps
Your phone or tablet is a tempting target for criminals, especially in Summer, but you can avoid being a target by ditching remote-access apps like GoToMyPC or LogMeIn. While these apps are great for accessing your desktop computer remotely, you should avoid using them to access sensitive data on your mobile device.
While these apps have security measures built in, they are not as secure as they need to be to protect sensitive data. If you need to access sensitive data on your phone, plug it into a secure data-dedicated laptop with a strong firewall and a reliable anti-virus program.
Change Your Passwords and Rotate Your Keys
Summer is a great time to change all of your passwords and rotate your keys. You can adjust all of your passwords by going through each account and changing them to something truly unique. Avoid using any standard passwords like “12345” or “password.”
Rotating your keys means that you change your private encryption keys for each of your accounts (your email, social media accounts, etc.). When you change your encryption keys, it alerts everyone who has access to your information that the key has changed. This gives you a layer of protection from potential cyber criminals who might attempt to access your account.
It’s also a good idea to change the locks in your office, especially if you’ve had a break-in. This may seem like an extreme measure, but burglars use new keys to break in again and again. By changing the locks on your office, you can ensure that the robbers can’t break in again.
Stay on top of updates and patching
As the temperatures rise in Summer, so do the number of cyberattacks. Take the time now to stay on top of your updates and patches and update your software and devices as soon as there are new updates available.
Ensure your anti-virus is updated and enabled and check for a firewall on your device. Make sure that you’re also protecting your home network with a strong firewall so that your whole family is protected.
If you don’t know how to set up a firewall, call an IT provider and ask for help. If you’re using cloud storage, make sure you know what security measures are in place to protect your data. While you may not be able to control all aspects of your data, you can control what you choose to store in the cloud and make sure that you’re utilizing strong encryption and security protocols.
Safeguard your devices with secure storage
While updating and patching your devices in Summer, consider safeguarding your data with secure storage. If you have any sensitive data, don’t just leave it on your devices. If your device is lost or stolen, your data can be accessed by anyone.
You may also be required to hand over your devices to law enforcement and they may be able to access your data. Fortunately, there are many ways you can safeguard your devices against data theft and cybercrime.
You can use encryption software or apps like Vera or BitLocker to encrypt your data. You can also use secure cloud storage or secure removable storage devices like the HyperDrive USB Drive.
Be wary of public WiFi
Even though you may be tempted to hop on the nearest public WiFi for a quick coffee shop experience during your Summer holidays, you may want to think twice.
These hotspots are notoriously insecure and make it easy for crackers to access your data. To avoid potential data theft, don’t connect to public WiFi without using a Virtual Private Network. Your VPN encrypts your data and keeps you safe from cyber criminals.
If you must use public WiFi, make sure that you’re not accessing any sensitive information. Using public WiFi without a VPN is like leaving your front door wide open for criminals.
Avoid downloading unknown apps
Do you need a new service app during the Summer, for example to rent a transport or a place at the beach? You may be tempted to try out a new app, but you should be wary of downloading apps from unknown sources.
Crackers often create fake apps that appear legitimate, so it’s essential to do your research before downloading an app. Don’t just download the first app that seems like it could be useful to you.