Safeguarding personal data and protecting privacy is an ongoing challenge in an increasingly digital world. Many people routinely ignore user agreements and thoughtlessly check boxes in exchange for convenience and better app functionality. While legitimate companies protect their customer’s data, cybercriminals prey upon these individuals. The following are several essential tips for securing personal devices:

  1. Strong passwords, MFA, and biometrics. Everyone knows they should avoid easily guessable passwords. However, many continue to use the same password or slight variations across dozens of logins. If a hacker cracks the password, they can wreak havoc on a person’s finances, steal their identity, or access sensitive information. Using multifactor authentication (MFA) can add another layer of security. In addition to a unique password, individuals can set up PINs or require biometrics like fingerprints or facial recognition to access their devices.
  2. Update software regularly. Manufacturers release software updates regularly to protect against evolving and emerging cyber threats. Updating the device’s operating system and apps provides much-needed security patches that address known vulnerabilities.
  3. Enable device tracking. Losing a smartphone or smartwatch is often frustrating, but it can also be a significant security risk if a cybercriminal gets ahold of it. Features like “Find My Device” can help individuals locate, lock, or erase their device remotely if it’s lost or stolen.
  4. Practice good app hygiene. Individuals can access millions of smartphone and smartwatch applications for entertainment, improving health and wellness, managing finances, and nearly any other aspect of their daily lives. However, these apps can act as a gateway for hackers to steal private information. Individuals should only download apps from official app stores like Google Play Store or Apple App Store. Additionally, many apps enable numerous permissions that aren’t necessary for their functionality and require the individual to toggle them off in the settings. Individuals should also remove apps they no longer use. These apps collect data and pose an unnecessary privacy risk.
  5. Address Bluetooth vulnerabilities. Bluetooth connections are undeniably convenient, but they’re a ripe opportunity for thieves when mismanaged. Some apps also collect data and track the user’s location via Bluetooth. Individuals can prevent hackers from accessing their devices by disabling Bluetooth when not in use and blocking unauthorized pairings.

Privacy protection is constantly evolving and requires good security practices to maintain. Taking steps to protect smartphones and smartwatches can prevent cybercriminals from accessing private information, identity theft, and more. Contact Windermere Insurance Group to learn more about improving cybersecurity for user-end devices.