Children and adults alike often have a sincere fondness in their hearts for the month of December each year due to the fact that it is the season of giving — whether you give toys, give money, or are simply able to give time to someone you care about, the saying it is better to give than to receive feels the most true at this time of year. If you are giving (or receiving) a tech gift this holiday season, be sure to be aware of and share these security tips so that the joy of this season can continue on into the new year with strong cyber defenses.
Change the device from its default settings — When opening a piece of technology this holiday season, be sure to update the passwords and login information from the factory setting; foregoing this simple step can leave your device at heightened risk for cyber attack as a malicious actor only needs to know the basic settings of the device in order to gain access to it. Protect your devices by setting a unique password from the start, before ever using it.
Disable unused features — Features such as Bluetooth or WiFi may not always be needed in order to use a device for its intended purpose. When you don’t need to be connected to WiFi or don’t need the device to have access to a camera, be sure to turn off those features. This will allow you to avoid unwanted access to the information you make available on the device in question.
Utilize two-factor authentication whenever possible — If your device asks for multiple ways to verify your identity, such as a password and a code that is texted or emailed to your contact information on file when you set up your account on the device, this is what is known as two-factor (or multi-factor) authentication. Though it can seem like a pointless step to some, this fairly quick extra step helps to further verify that you are the legitimate user of the device and that you are trying to access it safely and securely. This simple action helps to protect your devices from unauthorized users and helps to keep your information safe.
Only connect devices to trusted networks — In 2021, there is Internet available to us not only in our homes but at our work places, schools, and even in local restaurants and small businesses. While this can seem like a very helpful aspect of the world today, it is actually deceptively bad for the public in many ways as many, if not most, of these connections are not secure in the ways that they need to be. Because of this, be sure to only connect your Internet-capable devices to the the networks whose connections you trust to be secure. This means that you can connect to your home network (be sure to password-protect it with a unique, complex password that you do not make available to the whole neighborhood), even your friend’s home network, but do not connect to the local coffee shop’s WiFi if their password is plastered on the wall — it is far easier for a malicious actor to steal from individuals whose devices are connected to the same network that they are using.