Since the adoption of the internet and the start of the global digital age, our lives have changed drastically. Today everyone uses devices that have an internet connection and most people are online on a daily basis. Some of them use mostly social networks, others browse the web to find useful information and some people even do business online.
Although the digital age has made a lot of new opportunities and conveniences for us it has also brought some dangers along. Even though we can now carry our devices when moving around and go online whenever we see fit, there are potential security threats that we must look out for.
This is especially important when using our devices in public. You need to take the necessary precautions to avoid losing important information and becoming a victim of cyber crime. Here are some of the precautions you can take to secure your devices when in public.
Perform regular updates
One of the biggest vulnerabilities hackers like to take advantage of is outdated software. No matter if we are talking about apps, games, tools, browsers or any other kind of program, hackers know how to exploit their vulnerabilities to their advantage.
You might have wondered why most software today has regular updates. It’s because hackers find out their security weaknesses and learn to exploit them. In most cases, software updates carry a lot of new security patches that add new layers to protect the program from discovered weaknesses.
This is why you first need to make sure that your device, no matter if it’s a tablet, smartphone or laptop has programs that are all up-to-date when planning on using them in public. Update your operating system, tools, software, browsers, and antivirus software to reduce the chances of compromising your security.
Disable all location tracking
Having a device with GPS can be very convenient, especially if you are traveling somewhere and you need to find your way around, acquire tracking information, find good restaurants nearby, and so on. However, when you enable location tracking features you are also putting yourself at potential security risks.
When you share local information a cyber thief might find out your location and even figure out your identity. This is why you should avoid using location tracking features if possible. If not, turn it on just for a short time until you find what you are looking for and make sure to turn it off once you are done.
Leave as little time as possible for a potential hacker to abuse your vulnerability. Additionally, it’s generally a good idea to get all of the information you need before you head off, so that you don’t really need to rely on GPS.
Avoid using unprotected Wi-Fi
While moving around in public, chances are that you will come across free Wi-Fi connections and although you might be tempted to save a bit on your mobile data, you are putting yourself at great risk. Most public Wi-Fi networks have no encryption, meaning that all of the information you send or receive will be visible.
This is not even a complex intrusion and even a “beginner hacker” can take advantage of this. Wi-Fi hotspots are a big no – if you are at a hotel and they have Wi-Fi, make sure to ask if they have any encryption or security protocol before you decide to connect.
Even if you are sure that a certain network is secure, avoid sending or receiving sensitive information as a precautionary measure. Most open Wi-Fi networks have old routers with big vulnerabilities and even if there is a security protocol, it could be overridden very easily. Another potential liability of these networks is that there are devices connected to them whose security might have been compromised already.
In the end, make sure that you create secure passwords that can’t be understood or figured out easily. You never know who is watching when using your device in public and most of the breaches happen by people giving away their passwords in some way. This is why it’s a good idea to also implement two factor authentication to secure your account logins to the fullest.