For so many of us, cell phones and computers are embedded in our personal and professional lives. We talk and text, we browse the web, we watch, and we create. Our devices store a lot of personal information, so it’s a good idea to take a few minutes to make sure your computer, phone, and other connected devices are protected.
Update your software
Software developers release updates — to software, operating systems, and internet browsers — to patch vulnerabilities before attackers can exploit them. Some programs are pre-set to update automatically.
Check your settings and turn on automatic updates to keep up with the latest protections against security threats.
If your software is not set to update automatically, you’ll have to update it manually.
The same principles apply for your phone: set it to update automatically. Otherwise, keep an eye out for updates, and don’t delay in running them.
Update your apps, too.
Protect your accounts
Besides securing your devices, protect your accounts. Start with strong passwords and enable multi-factor authentication.
When it comes to passwords, longer is stronger: at least 12 characters. You could use a passphrase of random words to help you remember it — but avoid common words or phrases. If your username and password are leaked in a breach, having multi-factor authentication enabled will make it harder for a scammer to get into your account. For more, check out this password checklist.
Back up important data
As an extra precaution, back up your important data. Save your files to an external storage device, like a USB flash drive or an external hard drive. Also, save your information with an online cloud storage service.
By Alvaro Puig, Federal Trade Commission