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9 tips for keeping you and your devices secure

ECU’s cybersecurity experts are among the best in the business, assisting Interpol, WA Police and the WA Auditor in investigations. But they can also help keep your own personal information safe from attack.

The following tips will help you maximise your own cyber security within your home and on the go.

1. Use Anti-Virus

Make sure your PC and smartphone have a reputable anti-virus installed, keep it updated and regularly scan your device.

Real time cyber attacks as detected by security firm Kaspersky.
Real time cyber attacks as detected by security firm Kaspersky.

2. Keep your programs, apps and operating system updated

This is an obvious one. But as large scale hacks (such as WannaCry) have shown, many still fail to keep their devices updated.

Automatic updates are guaranteed to pop up at the most annoying time but they contain important security updates to fix vulnerabilities which can be exploited by cyber criminals.

Set your updates to run automatically overnight or when they won’t bug you.

3. Choose a strong and unique password

Create strong passwords with a mix of uppercase and lowercase characters, numbers and special characters.

One trick to remembering complex passwords is to use a sequence of words, swapping some of the letters for $ymbol$.

There are also a range of password management tools that only require you to remember one password.

Also make sure you set a pin or swipe pattern to your smartphone to prevent others from accessing your phone.

ECU's cyber security experts are some of the best in the business.
ECU's cyber security experts are some of the best in the business.

4. Turn on two factor authentication

Also known as 2FA , this extra layer or protection could be a text sent to your smartphone or a code generated by an app which you’ll need to enter.

It can be activated on social media including Facebook and Twitter, and almost any other reputable app or service, particularly banks and email services.

5. Turn off smartphone WiFi and Bluetooth

Your smartphone isn’t actually that smart. Even if you’re not connected via Bluetooth or WiFi your phone will transmit data. This can allow a point of entry for cybercriminals to steal data or compromise your device.

6. Don’t use public WiFi

Public networks make it easier to get a connection when out and about. However, many security and encryption protections are often disabled, which leaves your data unprotected.

Any traffic coming through a public network can be detected, making you vulnerable to attack. If you do need to use public WiFi, don’t access sensitive information like your bank account.

7. Router and home WiFi security

Don’t use default settings on your home router. It’s easy for a cybercriminal to look up default settings and gain access to you home network.

Make sure you change the name, login details and password of your router. It’s best to use WPA2 security for your WiFi password for maximum security and don’t just give it out to anyone who wants it. If friends or family use devices with malware or viruses on your home network they can infect your devices.

Public WiFi is risky business. Photo by on Unsplash
Public WiFi is risky business. Photo by on Unsplash

8. Internet of Things

You probably don't think of that new smart television or fridge as another computer in the house – but that's exactly what it is – and you need to treat it that way.

If you aren’t using their smart features disconnect them from the internet. If you do use them, make sure you can keep it updated (see tip 2).

9. Protecting your credit cards

Use trusted payment services like PayPal or Google Wallet to make purchases online.

Additionally, many banks and credit card companies are developing their own secure online payment methods.

You can also protect your tap and go cards in the real world by using an RFID blocking sleeve for your wallet or card. This prevents ‘pocket skimming’ where criminals can steal credit card numbers or make transactions by blocking the signal from your card’s chip when not in use.

Want to study here?

If you’re interested in a career in computer security, check out ECU’s range of undergraduate and postgraduate cybersecurity degrees.


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