Friday, July 25, 2014

How to Secure Your Tablet

Designed to be halfway between a smartphone and laptop, tablets are often considered to have the best of both worlds. As functional as a laptop while still being compact and portable enough to carry around in a small bag or purse, for many individuals their tablets are their go-to device. This also makes tablets a tempting target for thieves and hackers. While most people know to secure their laptops and keep a careful hand on their smartphones, tablets can contain just as much vulnerable information.

From social media to banking, many individuals use their tablets for more than just playing Candy Crush. Wherever you happen to fall in that category, here are three more tips on how to better secure your tablet.

Download Carefully

In this day and age of prevalent technology, all of us at some point have been told to “Think before you click!” and other points of advice about keeping our devices safe. Nevertheless, accidentally downloading malicious files or apps is still very common. Even if you’re on a protected network, a more secure connection won’t be much help if you don’t exert caution when downloading.

Make sure that you only download from trusted sites, especially when it comes to tablet apps. Rather than risk malware from third-party sites, stick to reputable and official sources like the Google Play Store, iOS App Store, and the Amazon App Store. Also read the reviews and app permissions before downloading a new app. Many negative reviews or questionable permissions are often a good sign that something is wrong with the app or that it’s just not worth having in the first place.

Browse Selectively

If you must use a public Wi-Fi and don’t have a secured connection, be very selective when browsing through websites. Encrypted websites that have “https” addresses (instead of just ordinary “http” addresses) are more secure. As long as your provider encrypts the entirely of your email session, you are probably safe to check your emails without worrying that some stranger on the Wi-Fi is snooping on what you’re doing. However, avoid financially sensitive things like making online purchases or checking your bank account. Wait until you’re back on your secure home network or use a reliable VPN service while travelling.

Back Up Your Data and Use Security Apps

Simple to do yet so valuable, backing up your tablet data can be a lifesaver. Whether it gets lost, stolen, hacked, or just stops working, data backups are a basic step you can take to ensure that you don’t just lose everything. Some people prefer frequently backing up an external hard drive, saving their files to cloud storage services like Dropbox, investing in software that manually or automatically captures their data, or any combination of the above.

Another step is to consider is using security apps. These often provide features like virus protection, device location, and remote wipe functionality. There are many options as several apps that secure smartphones, like the Lookout Mobile Security app, also work for tablets.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

4 Ways to Keep Safe on Social Media

Whether you are on the job hunt or just like staying in touch with family and friends, social media is a great tool for building and improving social networks. Especially for job seekers, a well maintained social profile can bolster their chances of hearing about employment opportunities and getting hired. Even international relationships can be fostered, as you can easily contact individuals on the other side of the world with a simple click.

This networking capability is truly impressive; however, the information rich world of social media also attracts less savory characters. Here are four more security precautions to keep in mind when using social media.

1. Have A Social Media Only Password

With so many high profile data breeches happening over the past few months, password security is a topic that’s been covered quite extensively on the news. Still, it’s important enough to merit repeating: If you’ve been in the habit of recycling or reusing passwords, now is the time to change. Your social media accounts should have a unique password of their own. Never use your social media password for other sites, especially sensitive and valuable accounts like for work or banking.

2. Stay On the Civil Side

One thing to remember is that while your social media profile is your own, the power of the internet means that anything you post, say, or tweet has the potential to instantaneously reach the general public. Avoid offensive language and try to stay civil as much as possible. Especially if you’re upset about something, cool down before you post something you regret.

While on the internet in general, a good rule of thumb is to be careful how you word and express your opinions. Since people can only see what you type and have very limited cues about your tone of voice or temperament, misunderstandings are just more likely to happen.

3. Beware of Online Scammers

It’s unfortunate, but even a slight sense of anonymity tends to bring out the worse in people. Since everyone “creates” themselves when making a social profile, online cyber-criminals may pose as a perfectly nice individual that wants to be your friend since they share similar hobbies, interests, or other connections to you. Then, once inside your social network, they might suddenly be in urgent need and ask for money, or offer fraudulent “opportunities” to you. Even sneakier, they might use your contacts to gain personal information that can then be used to steal your identity or trick your real friends and family.

Don’t be afraid of making friends online since most are really great people, but be careful as not everyone is who they appear to be.

4. Limit the Details You Share

While there’s nothing wrong with mentioning your pet’s name or reminiscing about your very first car, be tactful. You really don’t need to post every personal detail, as tempting and easy as social media sites make it to share. It never hurts to be cautious, as those seemingly innocuous details might give observant cyber-criminals the information they need to bypass things like bank security questions.