Actually, the issue is not that cybersecurity extends beyond computers; when you think about cybersecurity, remember that electronics such as smartphones and other internet-enabled devices may also be vulnerable to attack.
It is that computers extend beyond traditional laptops and desktops. Many electronic devices are computers, from cell phones and tablets to video games and car navigation systems.
Any piece of electronic equipment that uses some kind of computerized component is vulnerable to software imperfections and vulnerabilities. The risks increase if the device is connected to the internet or a network that a hacker may be able to access.
While computers provide increased features and functionality, they also introduce new risks. Hackers may be able to take advantage of these technological advancements to target devices previously considered “safe”.
Remember that a wireless connection also introduces these risks. The outside connection provides a way for a hacker to send information to or extract information from your device.
For example, a hacker may be able to infect your cell phone with a virus, steal your phone or wireless service, or access the data on your device. Not only do these activities have implications for your personal information, but they could also have serious consequences if you store business information on the device.
Many computer users, especially those who travel for business, rely on laptops and personal internet-enabled devices like smartphones and tablets because they are small and easily transported.
But while these characteristics make them popular and convenient, they also make them an ideal target for thieves. Make sure to secure your mobile devices to protect both the machine and the information they contain.
►Take Precautions To Limit Your Risk-
♦ Keep software updated. Many software programs will automatically connect and update to defend against known risks. Turn on automatic updates if that’s an available option. If the vendor releases updates for the software operating your device, install them as soon as possible.
It is important to install a patch as soon as possible to protect your computer from hackers who would take advantage of the vulnerability. Hackers may target vulnerabilities for months or even years after patches are available.
Installing patches will prevent attackers from being able to take advantage of known problems or vulnerabilities. Running the most recent versions of your mobile operating system, security software, apps and Web browsers is among the best defenses against malware, viruses and other online threats.
♦ Keep your device secure by using a strong password to lock your smartphone or tablet. Do not choose options that allow your computer to remember your passwords. Passwords are a common form of authentication and are often the only barrier between a user and your personal information.
There are several programs hackers can use to help guess or “crack” passwords. By choosing good passwords and keeping them confidential, you can make it more difficult for an unauthorized person to access your information. Longer passwords are more secure than shorter ones because there are more characters to guess, so consider using passphrases when you can.
♦ Enable two-step authentication when offered, and change passwords to any accounts you accessed while connected to an unfamiliar network. With two-factor authentication, you use your password in conjunction with an additional piece of information.
A hacker who has managed to obtain your password can’t do anything without the second component. The theory is similar to requiring two forms of identification or two keys to open a safe deposit box.
However, in this case, the second component is commonly a “one use” password that is voided as soon as you use it. Even if a hacker is able to intercept the exchange, they will not be able to gain access because that specific combination will not be valid again.
♦ Encrypt files – If you are storing personal or business information, see if your device offers the option to encrypt the files. By encrypting files, you ensure that unauthorized people can’t view data even if they can physically access it. When you use encryption, it is important to remember your passwords and passphrases; if you forget or lose them, you may lose your data.
♦ Before downloading an application (app), make sure you understand what information (i.e., location, your contacts, social networking profiles, etc.) the app would access and share before you download it. Only download apps from trusted sources.
♦ Back up your contacts, photos, videos and other mobile device data with another device or cloud service on a weekly basis. When using a public or unsecured wireless connection, avoid using sites and apps that require personal information like log-ins.
♦ Automatically connecting to networks can create vulnerabilities exploitable by hackers and others. Switch off your Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections when not in use.
♦ Delete any online communications (i.e., texts, emails, social media posts) that look suspicious, even if you think you know the source.
♦ Do not conduct sensitive activities, such as online shopping, banking, or sensitive work, using a public wireless network. Use only trusted apps or websites that begin with https://.
♦ The Golden Rule. Be respectful on your device. Treat others as you would like to be treated when texting, calling or using social networks.
♦ Share with care. Be a true friend when taking and sharing photos and videos with your smartphone. Get permission from friends before you share them via text or social networks.
♦ Be Web wise. Stay informed of the latest updates to your device and apps. Know what to do if something goes wrong.
Remember physical security – Having physical access to a device makes it easier for an attacker to extract or corrupt information. Do not leave your device unattended in public or easily accessible areas