Rant

5 Steps to Protect All Your Gadgets

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cybersecurity

Between the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent news that pretty much the whole U.S. government has been hacked, it’s never been more important to make sure that all your home devices and gadgets are safe. Windows machines aren’t the only devices vulnerable to malware and hackers — these days, cybercriminals are writing malware for Android phones, Mac computers, iPhones and iPads, and even your Internet of Things (IoS) devices.

Is it only a matter of time before you’re attacked with ransomware, malware, or identity theft? No, it’s not. Take the following five steps to protect your gadgets, and you can avoid having to fight back against hackers.

 

1) Password-Protect Your Devices

Getting a new device is exciting, but before you fire up that new tablet and start binging that new season of your favorite show on Netflix, you need to take some steps to protect your new device. First things first, you should password-protect all of your devices.

It’s actually not that hard for cybercriminals to crack most people’s passwords — because most people use weak, easily hackable passwords (think “password” or “12345” or, slightly more secure but not by that much, your child’s birthday or your own birthday). Hackers have a number of tricks and techniques they use to crack passwords, including using software tools that can do it quickly and easily. Use a password generator to create a strong, hard-to-crack password. Password managers, like KeePass and LastPass, allow you to generate unique passwords for each of your devices and online accounts and store them for future use. Turn on two-factor authentication to make it harder for hackers to access your device, even if they guess your password.

Don’t forget to access your home router’s admin dashboard and change your login credentials for that device, too. The default login credentials for more routers and wireless gateways are easy to find online, so change yours to keep hackers from accessing your router, your network, and everything connected to your network.

 

2) Adjust Your Security Settings

Once you’ve accessed your home router’s admin dashboard, you should change your security settings to make it harder for hackers to gain control of that device. Simply find the wireless network configuration settings in your admin dashboard — they might be under wireless security or wireless network page. Change your encryption type to WPA2 or, if you have it, WPA3 (and if you don’t have WPA3 on your device, consider updating your router or wireless gateway). Update your router’s firmware, and set it to update firmware automatically if you can. Then save your changes and log out.

 

3) Use a Home Security Suite

A good home security suite can offer comprehensive security for all your family’s devices, including smartphones, tablets, and computers. These comprehensive software packages and devices can provide protection against malware and viruses, including ransomware, as well as identity protection, password managers, encryption for public wifi connections, protection from dangerous websites, and more.

 

4) Register Your Devices

Registering your devices with the manufacturer lets them know that you own one of their devices, and that can help you qualify for warranty protection and customer support if something goes wrong. If a hacker does take over your device, you can use your registration as proof that you own the device, and this can help you recover your device.

 

5) Keep Them Up to Date

It’s always a good idea to enable automatic updates on your devices because software and firmware updates typically include patches intended to address security flaws in the software as well as performance enhancements and new features. In fact, most manufacturers release software updates as soon as they can after security flaws are discovered, and many of the highest-profile malware attacks of the recent past spread virulently because most users put off installing those crucial software and firmware updates. So go ahead and install those software and firmware updates as soon as they become available.

If you’re worried about your devices or your home network getting hacked, you’re not alone. These days, more and more people are becoming aware of the dangers of cyberattacks, because these attacks are becoming more prevalent. Take steps to protect yourself, and keep hackers from gaining access to — or even wholly taking over — your gadgets.

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