We would love to tell you that in terms of fraud, or almost in any terms, that the world has become a safer place over the last year but the sad truth is that the threats are not only not going away, but they are increasing. More money was stolen in 2019 by fraudsters than ever before. So, while many of us have made new year lifestyle resolutions we all need to add some safe technology habits to our list for a prosperous 2020.
1: Everyone needs to BACKUP!
All of us keep stacks of important information, documents, contact details, photos etc. on our phones and PCs and we should regularly back-up, (save those files), to a remote/separate location because sooner or later some accident or malware will render that device inaccessible and a big chunk of our lives will otherwise disappear, not to mention the amount of time it will take to get back on track. Research by Backblaze shows that at least 50% of users back their data up less than once a year.
The cloud is a bit of a digital lifesaver for this. Make sure your mobile is setup to backup:
On an iPhone: Tap Settings >Tap iCloud (under your name) > Tap iCloud > check that iCloud Backup is on
On an Android phone: Open Settings > Scroll to bottom and tap System > Select Backup and check the Backup to Google Drive is selected
On your Window’s PC Microsoft One Drive is great, after signing in open One Drive Settings > click Backup > click Manage Backup and follow the instructions
On your Mac: Go to System Preferences > Click iCloud > Click Options > Enable Desktop and Documents Folders
2: PASSWORDS, you know you shouldn’t be using the same one!
Millions, possibly of us still are relying on one password and in many cases its 123456 or Password1! In 2019 its estimated that over 5 billion pieces of personal data were stolen, sadly there is a good chance your password is available to cyber criminals, its time to get password smart, read our guide on Strong Passwords.
3: Turn 2 Factor Authentication on EVERYWHERE!
Two-factor authentication is a second layer of security to protect an account or system, it increases the safety of online accounts by requiring 2 types of information from the user to login. It is essential for banking or payment services, (such as PayPal) and social media accounts. Please make sure it is switched on for all accounts where it is available. Research by Google found 2-factor authentication prevented 100% of automated attacks, 96% of mass phishing attacks and 90% of targeted attacks.
4: Don’t Ignore Updates!
It is incredibly easy to ignore any update messages on your mobile or PC, but almost every update these days is partly to address a vulnerability which they have found with the system, so please don’t hang around, keep your devices UpToDate!
5: Get a free Malware check
Malwarebytes has a free PC clean version which checks for malware and any dodgy adware which may have sneaked on to your device. Use the free service every few months and stay clean!
All the above is a lot easier than drinking less, giving up chocolate or being kinder to family etc., (all of which are also great ideas), and will help keep you Cyber safe in 2020.