Whether you are at home, work, or school, Wi-Fi has become the preferred way to connect a device to the Internet. Millions of these Wi-Fi devices are sold every year and most of these devices are used with the default configuration mode setup by the manufacture making them very vulnerable to hackers. Here are some things to consider when setting up Access Points:
If possible, restrict access to your Wi-Fi network by using MAC addresses or separate Virtual LANS (VLANS). Home networks would benefit most by using MAC address restrictions since they are relatively small. Schools and work environments would find VLANs more beneficial because the potentially large number of devices connecting to the wireless network.
Change default username and password for Access Points
This should be the first step when setting up Access Points. The default usernames and passwords, set by the manufacturer, can be easily found by searching the Internet. Leaving these set as default makes it very easy for a hacker to gain access and take control of the network.
Shutdown Access Points when not in use
Hackers try to brute force the password to break the keys, so it is good practice to turn off the Access points during extended periods of Non-use. This might be something to consider for extended holiday breaks or family vacations.
With nearly 2/3 of Americans using smartphones, Mobile Apps are becoming more popular and more useful these days. To protect your phone and the personal information potentially stored on it, only install mobile apps from trusted places, and always double-check the privacy settings to ensure you are not giving away too much information.
If you own an Apple device, you can only download mobile apps from a managed environment and that is the Apple App Store. Apple does a security check on both the mobile apps and the author of the app. By enforcing this restriction, Apple is able to dramatically reduce the risk of installing an infected app.
If you own an Android device, your mobile app download options are a little more flexible. This flexibility puts more responsibility on the end-user. Google does maintain a managed mobile apps store called Google Play and you are encouraged to download and install your apps from here, but be aware, not all of the apps are being reviewed.
To further reduce your risk of installing infected mobile apps:
- Avoid installing brand new apps
- Avoid apps with only a few downloads and/or few positive comments
- Ask yourself “Do I really need this app?”
New apps potentially have new vulnerabilities
And one more thought: Uninstall mobile apps you no longer use; you can always reinstall it later.
After you have installed all these cool, fun, and sometimes useful mobile apps on your smartphone, you will want to make of these two things as well:
- Permissions: You need to make sure the app is safely configured and protecting your privacy. An app that is allowed to always know your location, may be allowing the creator of that app to track your movements and then sell that information to others.
- Updating Apps: Mobile Apps, just like computer and mobile operating systems, need to be updated in order to remain current. Criminals are always looking for vulnerabilities in software to exploit. So, it is a good idea to check for updates often and install them when one is identified.
Data/Device Security while Traveling
When you are using your mobile device on a home or work network, you feel confident your connection is safe and secure, but you should always assume any network you connect to while you travel is untrustworthy/unsecure. You never know who else may be on the publically accessible networks or what snooping software they may be running. Taking some pre-trip precautions could go a long way to protect your data.
- Identify the data you need on the devices you are bringing with you and then remove all other unneeded information. This can significantly help reduce the impact if your devices are lost, stolen or impounded by customs or border security staff.
- Install software on your device so you can remotely track where your device is (and even remotely wipe it) if it has been lost or stolen.
- Update your devices applications and antivirus software so that you are running the latest versions
- Enable all the appropriate security settings on your device such as your firewalls
- Lock all of your mobile devices with a strong password or passcode. This way, if you lose your device or have it stolen, people cannot access your information on it
- Encrypt all of your devices so that if they are lost or stolen, the data can’t be accessed. Some devices, such as iPhones, do this automatically if you set a password or passcode on the device
- Do a complete backup of all your devices. This way, you still have all of your data in a secured location if something does happen to them.
It is always a good idea to turn off Bluetooth when it is not needed. Bluetooth is another great tool for laptops, tablets, and smartphones to use to communicate with other Bluetooth enabled devices, it is also very convenient. It is also another way for hackers to attack you. They can use an open Bluetooth connection to compromise your laptop, tablet, or smartphone. They can then steal your personal information. Always turn off Bluetooth if you aren’t using it.
Be aware…Connect with Care!
Mobile Device Security
Mobile devices have become a common part of everyone’s lives; cellphones, tablets, and laptops, they are everywhere. The uses for these devices varies from the basic phone call or texting message up to credit card information, personal and business finances, and health information. Whatever the reason people have for using these devices, they should also make sure they protect the device and the data on it with good security practices.
Below are 8 of the most common recommendations for making sure your mobile device is secure:
- Use a pin, password or pattern to lock your phone
- Download apps only from a trusted source
- Backup your data
- Keep your operation system and apps updated
- Log out of banking and shopping sites after you make a payment
- Turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when not in use
- Avoid giving out personal information
- Install Anti-Virus Software
Take the time to get to get know your device’s security settings and set them appropriately.
Care to be aware!
Mobile Devices in Public Places
Mobile Devices have really helped to keep us connected while we are on the go. Theft or physical loss of these devices can create a great deal of trouble for an individual since most of these devices have your private information (credit cards numbers, passwords, calendars, work/personal email, etc) stored on them.
Recovery from a lost or stolen device can be inconvenient and time consuming, so take a little extra time to keep your eye on your mobile devices, preferably physical control of it, while in public places.
Secure your world.
Don’t Lose Your Device!
As the school year ends and summer activities (travel, vacations, camps) start it is important to keep track of all the mobile devices we use.
Did you know you are 15 times more likely to lose a laptop or a mobile device than have it stolen? When you are traveling, always double-check to make sure you have your mobile device with you, such as when you finish going through airport security, leave your taxi or check out of your hotel.
Added Tip: Only bring along the devices you need.
Public and Untrusted Computers
A password is only as secure as the computer or network it is used on. Never log in to a sensitive account from a public computer, such as computers in a cyber cafe, hotel lobby or conference hall. Bad guys target public computers such as these and infect them on purpose. The moment you type your password on an infected computer, these cyber criminals can harvest your passwords. If you have no choice but to use a public computer, change your password at the next available opportunity you have access to a trusted computer.
You can never be too careful protecting your password(s).