There is no hack-proof device. There is no single cure for the security challenges that trouble businesses, governments, and consumers. There are, however, best practices that can help you stay secure, deter hacking, and mitigate the damage if you are hacked.
First, identify your risk profile and potential threat actors. Perform a self-examination of your digital hygiene and enumerate your risk factors. Ask yourself:
- Do you keep a low digital profile, or are you active on multiple social networks?
- How many passwords do you use, and how easy are they to guess?
- Do you share passwords with colleagues or family members?
- What about your mobile and IoT devices: Are they locked down with updated firmware?
SEE: Infographic: Almost half of companies say cybersecurity readiness has improved in the past year (Tech Pro Research)
Next, follow this digital safety checklist:
- Back up and encrypt your data regularly.
- Update the software on your PC, mobile, and IoT devices.
- Use long, diverse passwords.
- Enable two-factor authentication on every site that offers the service (every site should offer 2FA).
- Use a password manager like LastPass or 1Password.
- Use a VPN, especially while traveling.
- Never connect with unknown data and Wi-Fi networks.
- Do not click links in email, except from trusted sources.
- Install and use Signal and Wire to encrypt mobile communication, and avoid Skype when possible.
- Delete unused and old social networking sites.
Your goal is to make it harder to access your accounts and your devices. There are no guarantees of complete digital safety, but these tactics will deter many hackers.
What are your favorite security tactics? Share your tips and best practices in the comments below.
More security news from TechRepublic
- Insider's guide to managing Microsoft Patch Tuesday (Tech Pro Research)
- Interview with a hacker: Kapustkiy from New World Hackers (TechRepublic)
- Get ready for the rise of spymail, the hottest trend in email hacking (TechRepublic)
- How to become a master cyber-sleuth (TechRepublic)
- From Russia with Tech: The top 5 most interesting Russian startups (TechRepublic)
- Video: Top 5 ways to track data breaches (TechRepublic)
- Get an inside look at the exploit infrastructure (TechRepublic)
- US government pushed tech firms to hand over source code (ZDNet)
- Microsoft's new Middle East chief: Why cloud and security are our big focus (ZDNet)
- Meet the shadowy tech brokers that deliver your data to the NSA (ZDNet)
Dan Patterson has nothing to disclose. He does not hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Dan is a Senior Producer for CNET and CBS News.