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Securing Your Devices

Thursday, March 9, 2017 15:58

Last time, we talked about securing our home network.  This time, we need to address the security of our devices themselves.  Whether it’s a smartphone or a traditional computer, there are a few steps we can take to secure our devices.

Updates Are Your Friend

Although they are not always convenient, software updates are paramount to securing our devices.  Keeping our devices up-to-date means there are fewer security flaws that intruders can use to access these devices.  Not only that, but updates can simply improve the performance and stability of the device, so there aren’t many good reasons to skip updates.  Most newer devices should have automatic updates enabled, but be sure to double-check that this is the case.  Contact the manufacturer of the device or visit their website for detailed updating instructions.

What’s the Password?

Many of us know by now that putting a password or PIN on our devices can be an effective security strategy.  Virtually every modern device, whether a smartphone or other computer, has the capability of locking the device with a password.  Of course, if someone steals or finds a device, they won’t be able to use it if there is a password set.  Many smartphones will go as far as to lock the phone down completely if an intruder incorrectly enters the password too many times.  For the person looking to go the extra mile to secure their device, a password or PIN is a must have.

Protect and Serve

Let’s get to the point: Every computer needs to have a firewall and anti-virus installed — period.  Having these will not only help us ward off potential threats, but they can also aid in eliminating malicious software already running on a device.  Many devices will have a firewall built in to the operating system, but the anti-virus software will likely have to be installed by the user.  There are many affordable and effective options out there, including some free anti-virus programs that really pack a punch.  Just remember, any legitimate anti-virus software is better than none at all.

Dispose With Care

When disposing of computers or mobile devices, be sure they are wiped of any personal information.  Even if the device is going to a relative or trusted friend, it is still worth being safe and wiping the device.  How to do this will vary from device to device, so be sure to contact the manufacturer or visit their website for detailed instructions.

These tips should be followed by anyone looking to make their devices more secure.  The peace of mind gained is worth the time.  Next time, we will look at ways we can secure our accounts and passwords.