We now live in a digital world where it is inevitable for us to use technology in our daily lives. From the moment you wake up, you often reach out for your smartphone before even getting out of bed. That has been the routine for most of us. Most homes are also full of tech gadgets from home appliances to communication gadgets that are all interconnected to the Internet for our comfort and convenience. If you don’t know it yet, they comprise the Internet of Things. Despite the hefty price tag, the majority of us do not hesitate in buying these tech luxuries and basically have transformed them into living staples that almost everybody must have.
There is a big drawback here, though. We may enjoy all the perks that technology brings yet we can’t deny the fact that they have somehow complicated our mere existence especially when something goes wrong. Technological innovations in itself are flawed and full of loopholes that cyber criminals use to their advantage. Even the Internet is not a safe place anymore or social media where many of us end up sharing way too much personal information than necessary. It also explains why so many people end up as victims of ransomware attacks, for instance, because of how we take technology lightly and don’t take enough precautions even when using our personal gadgets.
No one wants a computer wide open to the various threats and nasties that lurk on the web, and you could be forgiven for thinking that the fight against hackers, malware and viruses is pretty much futile, considering how often they hit the tech news headlines.
In fact you can minimise a lot of the risk by taking some simple and straightforward steps to protect yourself. No system is ever 100 percent guaranteed safe – there are just too many variables for that – but follow this guide and you can sleep much more easily at night.
- Keep your software updated
It’s boring, but it’s effective: make sure your operating system and all the programs that run on it (especially your browser, email client and antivirus application) are always updated with the latest patches and upgrades. This makes sure any existing security threats are protected against and gives you a good chance of standing up to new ones.
Many of these precautions are so basic it is a wonder why many can’t still do these things for their own safety and precaution yet they complain and feel bad once they encounter tech issues that obviously were avoidable if they did most of these tips in the first place. You do not need to be a computer geek or nerd in order to protect your data from being encrypted, stolen, or used without your knowledge. And if you aren’t that techy yourself, you have no choice but to arm yourself with this new knowledge because ignorance isn’t always an excuse and you’re on the losing end if you don’t.
And it seems that many consumers support this idea. In our TONIGHT poll 84% said they want manufacturers to certify their connected products are secure. But there’s also plenty we can do ourselves to ensure we don’t become the victims of home hacking. Follow these top tips to stay secure:
Make sure your passwords are complex. Avoid dictionary words which are easier for hackers to crack. Instead, use a mixture of upper and lower case letters, and numbers.
Make sure your passwords are long. For example, a password made of 8 random upper case letters (with no dictionary words) can be hacked in a matter of days using password-cracking computer programmes. But if you add just 2 extra characters, to make it 10 characters long, it will be 676 times harder to crack, taking a computer programme years instead of days to solve.
Avoid re-using the same password for different accounts or devices. If a hacker cracks one of your passwords, they can try the same password on other devices or online accounts. Keep your individual accounts/devices more secure by using a different password for each of them.
Most people often make many of these mistakes and unconsciously make their gadgets more vulnerable to hacker attacks. As the Internet of Things is projected to grow more and more over the years, we expose more aspects of our lives in the digital world and we are not just pertaining to the things you share on social media or the web. Baby monitors are the easiest and often the first thing hackers try to access aside from the home WiFi network since it gives them a bird’s eye view of what’s inside the house and even has a peak as to what family members are doing or talking about.
You can’t afford to be lax by now with the growing number of tech gadgets you are using at home because the risk is always there. Thus, improve your home cyber security measures to protect you and your family and all your precious data from cyber thieves that are becoming more cunning and wiser as the days go by.