Protecting Your Devices

In the past a cellphone was just a cellphone, you made your calls to your loved ones, communicated an SMS via text, or at a later stage, you were able to send a low-quality MMS photograph via the camera. Today this is no longer the case as microchip and cloud-based technology has rapidly developed the dynamics of the once plain simple cellphone. Now you can store huge amounts of data on a cloud host server, such as passwords, account details, logins, and much more. All of this is available at your fingertips with the advent of the smartphone.

However, the smartphone is prone to two types of attacks, one which can be prevented, and we have some leverage over, and the other is human error, which is beyond the scope of technology. Cyber-attacks may pose a threat to any device if the hacker is in possession of your IP or mac address. However, this can be mitigated by various anti-virus software/malware bytes/anti-ransomware applications. Anti-Viruses, such as Norton, protect your devices against such threats in the dynamically evolving cybersecurity realm. The latter threat is due to human error and behaviour, which is physical theft of an actual device, thus enabling access to critical information on your device.

In some instances, a device does not need to be accessed or stolen but can rather have information gathered via a flash drive from a colleague/acquaintance carrying out a seemingly innocent procedure. Trust plays a key element here, and one ought to be careful of who they are entrusting their devices with.

Your device has been tampered with now what?

There are procedures to be followed, such as alerting a cybersecurity establishment and the police. What was the last thing you remember doing before having your device tampered with? Did you receive a message via text with a phishing link attached? Was an email breached? A friend request on social media? These are all the questions you should not only ask yourself but be prepared with the answers, for the cybersecurity analysts to assist you in conducting the investigation and bringing the culprit to book. Many applications may assist you beforehand, such as Truecaller which is an application that will (in most cases) reveal the perpetrator and allow cyber forensics to conduct further investigations.

Another crucial aspect of keeping your devices safe is being wary of public WI-FI connection usage, as this could determine the difference of being breached by a third-party or not. If your WI-FI connection is not secure, this allows attackers to obtain sensitive data such as passwords, credit card information, identity records and other sensitive details. Such information may be used by attackers to commit cyber fraud. Always keep your operating system, firewall software and anti-virus up to date, in order to remain secure when using an external WI-FI hotspot.

Ensure that you encrypt your passwords regularly, as this could help you remain secure and protect against having your device attacked by a hacker. Encryption protects the information flow between your device and the router being used. Generally, most routers have their encryption turned off by default and require to be manually switched on, which may be time-consuming but is worth it. Always install and maintain anti-virus software applications such as Norton and Kaspersky. Malware bytes could also be an advantage and unlike most AVG software is free and more cost-efficient.

Never open an email or text message from an unknown individual. Furthermore, under no circumstances should you open a link or attachment from a dubious and unauthorised source, as this is a potential key access point for attackers into your device via phishing. Phishing involves attackers goading you into clicking a link or opening a file, which results in you involuntarily transferring your data to the attacker's device. Thus, giving them all the lucrative information they need to access your accounts and other relevant databases. Spam filters may assist with sorting out unnecessary junk which could be potentially harmful to your device.

As the pace of technology evolves, so do the dynamics of cybersecurity; therefore, we must always ensure that our appliances, operating systems, firewalls, and software security utilities are kept up to date. Keep vigilant of the latest trends in cyber threats to avoid falling victim to potential scammers and attackers so that you are better equipped to deal with any threats that may come your way.

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