Be Aware of the Dangers
The most important component in securing your home laptops, desktop PC, smartphones, and tablets is you. Always avoid clicking on links, and open attachments in emails which are unexpected or appear to be suspicious. Only install apps, games, and software you actually need from trusted providers. When online be careful who you provide your personal information to, and your debit or credit card details or bank details. See our Infographic on Staying Safe from cybercrime.
|US-Cert Tips https://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/tips|
|We might be a UK website, but we think one of the best websites for providing advice, learning, and guidance on how to stay safe and secure is the US-Cert website. Regularly kept update, the website covers just about everything you need to be aware of.|
|Cyber Streetwise https://www.cyberstreetwise.com/|
|The UK Government funded website providing friendly guidance and awareness on protecting your privacy and devices online.|
Security Updates / Patching
Modern laptops, desktop PC, smartphones and tablets are supplied with security features which are enabled by default. Keeping your operating systems and applications updated is one of the most important things to do in order to keep your device secure. Therefore it is essential to not to disable or delay applying software updates, as most updates typically resolve security flaws.
Anti-virus software can help prevent malicious software from installing onto a laptop or desktop PC. There are many vendors which will sell anti-virus software, typically by annual subscription, they are even sometimes supplied your PC upon purchase. They are also plenty of free anti-virus products on the market, all will do a job sufficiently well. Microsoft operating systems are supplied with free anti-virus software, called Windows Defender, we recommend sticking with Windows Defender and keeping it enabled at all times. Remember no anti-virus solution can prevent malicious software from infecting your PC, but it can help prevent most.
Passwords one of the greatest weakness in home cybersecurity, and the bad guys know this. Remembering countless complicated passwords for over a hundred different websites is a real chore, especially if you want to be secure. To be secure you should be using a unique highly complex password on each website, and then you should change it often. Password management tools and password vaults offer a solution to this digital age problem, all you have to do is remember a master password to access a vault of all your usernames and passwords. Of course, it becomes incredibly important to protect that master password! Such tools allow the generation of unique and highly complicated passwords, and can ease the burden when changing your passwords. There are several cloud-based password management tools which integrate within the popular web browsers, so usernames and passwords are automatically populated as you access websites. There is a question of trust with these suppliers, specifically that they protect your account details and that their software is secure. However on balance, using a password management tool is less risky than using the same and weak passwords on multiple websites, given if one website is hacked and bad guys gain access to email address and password, they could attempt to use these credentials to access your other websites, including your most important email and banking websites.
|LastPass provides a free version of the tool which integrates with your web browser to manage passwords. LastPass gives you the ability to create unique complicated passwords for each website where you need an account.|
|KeePass is a free open source password manager, which helps you to manage your passwords securely. You can put all your passwords in one database, which is locked with one master key or a key file. So you only have to remember one single master password or select the key file to unlock the whole database. The databases are encrypted using the best and most secure encryption algorithms currently known (AES and Twofish).|
|Dashlane is an online password manager with a free option, generates secure passwords and keeps track of your passwords, automatically logging into websites.|
|1Password is a good value password manager, integrated with web browsers and smartphones for seamless account logins.|
Source your email account from a reputable and large provider can help cut spam and malicious emails to your inbox. The likes of BT, Yahoo, Google Gmail, and Microsoft provide a significant degree of protection, however, malicious emails can still get through, so always be suspicious. Typical 'phishing' emails either are too good to be true (i.e. you won the lottery) or attempt to scare you into doing something (i.e. someone has hacked your bank account and you need to reset your password). Malicious emails will either try to have you click a link to a website or to open an attachment or return with confidential information, all of which will be used to steal your personal information or infect your device.
Have your Online Credentials been Hacked?
|Have I Been Pwned? https://haveibeenpwned.com/|
|A free service which checks whether your email address and password have been previously hacked and shared online. The website checks billions of records of credentials, and underlines the importance of using a password manager to assist you with creating and managing complex and unique passwords for every web account you have, and to two multifactor authenication where offered.|