The basics of digital hygiene are the same for everyone, an experienced user or the first time you pick up a smart gadget. The specific rules depend on what you are going to do.
It is advisable to install applications only from official stores – this is the number one rule. The App Store and Google Play conduct a minimum check of the manufacturer and the application, which means that they sift at least frankly fraudulent and malicious products.
When installing, pay attention to the permissions that the application wants to receive. It is clear that Instagram needs access to photos, but for the “flashlight" – no. If the application asks for too much, there is a chance that it will be monetized due to your data. But even if this is not so, there is no guarantee that the application stores information properly, which means that there is a possibility of a leak. For the same reason, turn off auto-synchronization with cloud services, unless it is really necessary – it is not clear whether the cloud storage services are protected and who has access there.
If you can refuse permissions and this does not affect the functionality of the service, it is better to do it. If not, and the permissions are clearly superfluous – it is better to abandon the application altogether.
Think about using paid versions. The developers of such services are motivated to protect them better; they have less temptation to earn extra money by selling your data to the side.
Use an antivirus program for your phone and computer and use system tools to increase security. For some smartphones, there are special security programs (for example, DTEK for Blackberry).
Usually, services themselves set requirements for the length and content of the password, the main thing is that the password must be complex.
Passwords are now considered the most reliable. This is some relatively meaningless, but easy to remember sentence, which is typed in a different layout. The presence of numbers, symbols and capital letters in it will only strengthen the password.
Usually it is recommended to change passwords at least once a month, but cyber experts have proven that every new user password becomes weaker than the previous one, especially since there are dozens of accounts for a modern person.
The real option to comply with all the requirements of password hygiene is to use a special application to save passwords and remember one master password, which will be really difficult.
In addition, enable two-factor authentication wherever possible. Then, in addition to the password, when entering the account, you will have to enter the verification code from an additional source, for example, from SMS. This will make the protection much more reliable.
Public Wi-Fi hotspots are a source of threats. There is a possibility – do not use them. If necessary, follow simple safety rules:
- Make sure that the access point belongs to the cafe / airport / shopping center, and not to the hacker. Legal requests to enter a phone number and sends an SMS to enter.
- Use a VPN connection to access the network. It was invented in order to safely access the Internet through insecure access points.
- If you don’t know how to perform paragraph 1 and paragraph 2, it is better in this situation to use the Internet only “in read mode” – to visit sites and services where you do not need to report anything about yourself.
The danger of uncontrolled web surfing is that you can stumble on virus and phishing sites. They often disguise themselves as pages of banks or online stores, look almost indistinguishable from the originals, but they infect devices or steal personal and payment data.
Therefore, it is important to know the indirect features that give out a phishing page. The main one is that as a rule, nothing works on such a site, except for the form where you are asked to enter your data. The “Product Catalog” is not scrolling or there are only a few items in it, the news section is not updated, the buttons are not pressed, the comments are written like a copy. If the site is suspicious, it is best to close it immediately.
With special care, follow the links that came to you in letters or messages from unfamiliar recipients. Avoid transitions from banners about losing weight in 10 days and with other attractive offers.
Using smart devices
The market for smart devices developed too rapidly: manufacturers managed to increase the functionality of gadgets, but did not ensure their safety. Now regulators are coming to oblige manufacturers to provide at least a minimum level of protection. But the devices are still almost unprotected. This leads to two problems: user data accessibility and vulnerability to hacker attacks.
And if users can’t control how the creators of gadgets store and use their data, hackers usually become victims of their own fault.
Attackers gain access to devices using vulnerabilities or using well-known passwords that manufacturers set by default. Then gadgets are used to organize attacks. So in 2016, the Mirai malware used hundreds of thousands of smart devices that came up with a standard password. Many network craftsmen are mining on other people's gadgets, connecting to them over the network – this reduces the performance of devices and loads on the network. A more everyday (and frightening) example: hackers remotely connect to video nannies, scare children, post their photos on the Internet.
To prevent this from happening, change the standard passwords of smart devices to long and complex.