How To Make Your Tech More Secure
First, what are some of the simplest ways people can make their tech more secure?
“One of the simplest ways to make tech more secure is to keep it updated. We all know how annoying those ‘update now’ prompts can get but make everything an auto-update, so you don’t have to worry about these things, unless there are bigger version updates.” – Laura Kankaala, security consultant at F-Secure
“Passwords are also one of the simplest security measures because you don’t need to purchase anything to use them as a security measure. Just remember to use a different password for each application to reduce the chances of identity theft. That said, it’s really hard to remember multiple passwords, so think about using a password manager to store your user ID and passwords for all your accounts. Another simple way to be more secure is to use biometrics when possible i.e. fingerprint, voice recognition, and face recognition.” – Becca Powers, cyber security expert & author
Are webcams as dangerous as we're led to believe?
“Webcams can be – however, it’s the security measures behind them that make them dangerous or not. For example, if you are using a video conferencing solution like Zoom, Webex, Google Meet, etc. it’s recommended you use a password to make your video meetings secure, especially if you are hosting. It’s common to bypass password enforcement for the benefit of ease. In the cybersecurity world the easy path often leaves you vulnerable. If you take the extra steps and use passwords for your meeting you have to worry less.” – Becca
“Personally, there’s a lot of myth around how easy it would be to hack a webcam these days – and a lot of scam artists use this as a means to scare us into doing things. For example, sending emails saying, ‘We’ve hacked your webcam and unless you pay up, we’re going to release recordings/images of you online’. When it comes to laptops, most of them have hardware-based detections for when the camera is turned on, such as a light next to the camera. In many cases when sensitive data leaks, it’s definitely because of weak passwords used for services such as iCloud or a malicious ex intentionally circulating them around.” – Laura
Are Amazon Alexas/Google Nests secure?
“Any device that requires a connection to wi-fi leaves you vulnerable to cyberattacks. Overall, they are a lower threat because most hackers are not targeting homeowners’ wi-fi devices. However, it does happen. In fact, the numbers of attacks are increasing so it is something to take seriously. By activating as many of the security features available on your devices as possible, you will lower the number of threats.” – Becca
“Companies such as Amazon and Google invest a lot of money and time in securing their products. When it comes to any smart device, just try to opt for well-known and established players in the field, for that reason. But having said that, naturally anything that consists of code can be vulnerable.” – Laura
Is extra security software really worth the money?
“Yes. Malware is recommended for your computers, laptops and tablets to protect you from viruses. However, it does not protect you from hackers. Hackers are looking at passwords and unsecured wi-fi devices, such as smart TVs. Use your own router to further secure your at-home network. These can be purchased online or at any of your electronic stores. The cost can be quite steep when ransomware attacks hack valuable information. Corporations pay millions when they experience a ransomware attack. So, the little bit of money it costs you to secure your home is worth it, as it will protect some of your most valuable assets – your data.” – Becca
What about the rest of your home?
“One of the most affordable ways to manage your at-home environment is to have malware protection on your devices, use multiple different passwords and an application that stores them for you so it’s easier for you to remember. And purchase an at-home router to have more security options for your home smart devices.” – Becca
“In general, by keeping your tech secure, you’re protecting your physical home, too. Also, if you have any concerns of someone breaking and entering your house while you’re away, then it’s good to be mindful of how much information you’re sharing online. For example, if your home address is Google-able or clearly visibly in the pictures you share, it could invite some unwanted guests if you let people know on your social media that you’re away.” – Laura
Do have any privacy/security gadgets you can't live without?
“Right now, my favourite is using the password manager to be able to use different passwords on my accounts and not forget them. That, combined with using biometrics, is my go-to.” – Becca
Any final words of advice?
“Cybersecurity is the single biggest area of investment within corporations. Many companies even have work from home kits to increase the security for their employees as well as their data and their customers’ data. You can ask your employer if there is any work from home tech packages to increase security. Outside of what your company may or may not offer, implementing some of the above-mentioned suggestions will help keep your home network safer.” – Becca
“Breaches happen all the time. Most of them are not life-altering for the victims – for example, if we momentarily lose control over our Netflix account, we can restore that. Just focus your protective measures on your most important online assets – such as your email and social media accounts with strong individual passwords and multi-factor authentication.” – Laura