Top five ways to keep your devices secure

Devices like laptops, tablets and smartphones are all too appealing to thieves and hackers, and vulnerable to online threats. They can also unfortunately be misplaced or damaged, taking their contents with them. Read on for our top five tips to help keep your devices and their valuable data secure and private.

Install comprehensive security software
Security software helps protect your data and devices against viruses and phishing scams, and can back up and restore files, remotely lock and wipe devices if they are stolen or lost, and locate them on a map. Make it a priority to install security software and keep it up to date. Android is especially vulnerable to malware attacks, so be sure to protect these devices with anti-malware software.

Lock your device and SIM card with a PIN/password
Locking your device helps prevent others from accessing your online accounts or other private information. Ensure your password is memorable – and strong: at least eight characters, including upper and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols.
 Keep PINs/passwords secret. Don’t store them anywhere on your device.
Don’t choose anything that would be easy to guess, such as a significant date, family members’ names or nicknames, birthplaces, or pets’ names.
Enable data wiping after a set number of failed PIN/password attempts.

Back up
Accidents happen. Smartphones and tablets all too often get lost, stolen or hacked, and laptops too can fall prey to thieves and cybercriminals. Make it a habit to regularly back up your laptop, tablet or smartphone to the cloud and/or portable storage device. Otherwise, if your gadget is lost, stolen or damaged, your contact numbers, treasured photos and videos and important financial and work documents might be lost along with your device.

Go easy on the apps
You might be tempted to load your devices with all the latest must-have fun and entertaining apps, but it pays off in terms of security and privacy to first stop and think:
Is it safe? Read the reviews. Download only from reputable app stores like Google Play, Apple® App Store and Windows® Phone Store. If you want to download an app from another source, first scan it with security software.
Do I really need this app?
What are the terms of service?
- What is the app asking permission to access, and why?
One app you probably will want to download is a phone/tablet finder.

Disable WiFi, Bluetooth and geotagging
To stop your gadgets from connecting to unknown networks and devices and making themselves and their data vulnerable, turn on WiFi and Bluetooth only when you need it. Smartphones automatically embed geotags in photos taken with the device. If these photos are published online, someone else can track your location and watch your movements. Disable the device’s geotagging feature to prevent this.
Geotagging apps like Foursquare and Facebook Places show your map location when you ‘check in’ on your mobile. If you want to use these apps, customise them so that you can choose who gets to see where you are and where you’ve been.