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While many of our New Year’s resolutions are to do with personal goals — whether that’s to lose weight or sharpen up our career ambitions — it’s always helpful to expand resolutions to our broader life. Looking after your home and data security is so important for both saving you time and money. No one wants to wake up one day to discover that their laptop has been wiped of its documents, or that you have a ransom to pay in exchange for your sensitive data. This is why your tech resolutions should be security-focused, particularly if you’ve been given a brand new device for Christmas.
If you have been lucky enough to receive a new laptop, tablet or smartphone from Santa this year, then one of the first things you should do is download antivirus software. You don’t want your new device to be plagued with malware in the coming year, or to have to stall your enjoyment of your new tech while you wait for a virus to be removed from it. A good comprehensive antivirus package will not only allow you to make regular scans, but it will also provide you with internet protection and the capacity to remove stubborn malware.
Home security products are a great quick-fix when it comes to protecting multiple devices at once. Finding a home network security device that will block all unwanted websites and intruders will help cybercriminals to fall at the first hurdle. These are particularly great if you have a family with multiple devices. Sometimes we can’t always help what our children will open by accident, or what they will download, which means we could easily be susceptible to a virus that came as a freebie with an illegally downloaded song or movie.
Install a VPN
You may have heard of VPNs before if you are a regular user of international streaming services such as Netflix. Some people misuse VPNs in order to misdirect the region of origin of their internet source. Some people in other countries will use an American VPN, for example, to access US shows online. However, this is not the best way to use this tool, as they are also incredibly useful for staying relatively anonymous online. Of course, you should never be using unreliable or insecure websites in the first place, but a VPN can act as a helpful extra little safety blanket.
Don’t Save Your Card Details Online
If you’re worried about what public WiFi eavesdroppers could see if they chose to snoop on your account, then your best bet is to not save online card details. This can be a tough one, as many serial online shoppers love the ease at which they can purchase an item with just the click of a button. However, if your laptop or phone is not password-protected, then a criminal is also just a click away from using your personal details and bank account for free.
Install an Ad Blocker
If you have a family, then installing an ad blocker could be a helpful, easy way to protect you and your children from accidentally clicking on less-than-reputable ads. While we as adults may be able to spot the difference between a dodgy website and a harmless shopping ad, smaller children might not be able to. On top of that, it also removes the annoyance of having to wait for automated ads to pass, or to have to play ‘whack a mole’ with pop up ads.
There are two main ways in which you can use encryption to secure your online privacy: use a messenger app that already uses it to electronically protect messages (WhatsApp is the main service to use — there are others which are, let’s face it, less frequently used) or use encryption software that will protect your documents. Encryption works by scrambling the information within a file so that when someone who isn’t you opens it, it is completely illegible. This is particularly handy if you have documents containing sensitive information. Your security techniques don’t have to be particularly fancy for you to successfully upgrade them in the new year. Sometimes a security upgrade can just involve a little more home security when it comes to protecting your devices. It is important, however, that you do have some level of antivirus or protection on your devices. Cybercriminals thrive on the underprepared and so it is essential that you don’t become one of them.
January 3, 2020