Security Tips Series, 3 - Devices

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Often overlooked, your computer is a crucial part of your security plan. Sometimes even the smallest tweak to your laptop, desktop computer or tablet can be the difference between your security being compromised or not.

Install antivirus software

An effective way of ensuring your security is by installing antivirus software on your machine and regularly scanning it. Not only are the regular scans a great way of removing any unwanted programs, but also the antivirus will block any attacking spyware or malware. Spyware is software that infiltrates your device and steals the sensitive information, such as credit card details, bank information, your address and other details that you have entered into websites or stored in on your computer to relay to advertisers or other users  without your permission. Malware is short for ‘malicious software’, that is, any software that is set-up to harm, damage or disable your computer. Unlike spyware, which covertly steals your data, malware overtly attacks your data and computer system. Ransomware is another form of virus that attempts to steal your data and hold it at ransom. The software you download steals your personal data and demands that you pay a fee to get it back before they share it with the internet.

Lock your computer
Not locking your computer or device with a username and password invites anyone to gain access to all your personal data when you are away from it. Sometimes information can be stolen if you leave your laptop open in a public space and someone sees it, or if your computer or hard drives are stolen and there are no layers of security to keep the thief out. It is important to remember to set-up protection for your devices. Remember to have all your devices locked with usernames/passwords, multi-factor authentication and encrypted hard drives.

Keep software up to date
A great way to prevent hackers and malicious software from ruining your computer is to keep your software up to date. Updating software fixes bugs in the old system that might have been exploited, adding another layer of security while hackers scramble to combat the new system. Updates can add new features to your system while removing the underperforming ones from the old. Software updates also help your system to run more smoothly, allowing you more time to focus on what you want to do on your device, rather than needing to fight against old software flaws and constant update notifications or slow-down. It is recommended that you turn automatic updates on to keep all the applications up to date.

Back up your data
This is a great way to ensure that if your system is compromised all your data isn’t destroyed or used as ransom against you. Having your data backed up and placed in secure encrypted servers, hard drives or cloud storage areas, is a great way of protecting yourself from attack. If you are using external hard drives, USB’s, or other external devices, make sure you own them or that you ensure they have come from a reliable source.

Know what security options are available for your computer and operating system
Do you have a Mac or a Windows operating system? Which manufacturer has made your computer – Apple, Hewlett Packard (HP), Dell, ASUS, IBM, Canon or Lenovo? Each computer and operating system will have different features, functionality and out-the-box solutions to security. For example, computer’s running the Windows operating system can access Windows Defender and Windows Firewall to keep your computer secure. Meanwhile, computer manufacturers create their devices with different performance enhancing hardware that is designed to secure your system. Some computers have hardware security module’s (HSM) that is a physical device that plugs into the computer to physically safeguard the device.

What is TDR and what do we do?
TDR stands for ‘Telecommunications Dispute Resolution’ a free and independent service that helps consumers manage complaints about any product or service from their telecommunications provider. We resolve complaints about landline, mobile and internet issues.

Why are we sharing this?
We decided to do a blog to inform people about the trending topics happening in the telecommunications industry, as well as sharing our knowledge of disputes in the sector.