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Secure Your Tech with 7 Easy Tools

October 16, 2019

A woman with a laptop sits in an airport. "Stay protected while connected. Public Wi-Fi is not secure and can put your device and data at risk."

Own it. Secure it. Protect it. That’s the 2019 theme for National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. So last week we talked about owning your responsibility on social media. This week, let’s review some simple but powerful tech tools for securing your devices and personal information.

  1. Turn on two-factor authentication. If you use a web service that offers two-factor authentication (2FA), turn it on. Each web service will have instructions you can follow. We explained how 2FA works in a previous article. If you haven’t already, you should turn on 2FA in your Biola email account right away. This is the most reliable way to prevent phishing attacks.

  2. Encrypt your smartphone. To do this, just enable one of your device’s login mechanisms, like a passcode, fingerprint reader, or swiping pattern. Encryption makes your data unreadable to anyone without your login secret.

  3. Lock down your laptop. IT provides a lockdown cable to all employees who have Biola-assigned laptops. Use it to secure your laptop to your desk. This is the most reliable way to prevent laptop thefts. And when you’re not at your desk, keep your laptop secured in a drawer or in your car trunk, where thieves can’t see it.

  4. Review app permissions. Check the permissions on all your apps to make sure you know exactly what information the app developer has access to. Review all permissions before downloading and installing an app. When possible, disable any permissions you don’t need, and enable any available privacy settings. Here are some helpful links to get you started:

  5. Use a VPN connection. Do this anytime you’re on an unfamiliar or untrusted network. VPN prevents attackers from viewing your activity on unprotected WiFi networks. Biola’s VPN service is available to all Biola employees.

  6. Use a backup tool. This will save and store a second copy of your data, and is the best way to recover from device failure or a ransomware attack.

  7. Install software updates. When your device prompts you with software updates for your OS and apps, install them right away. They include essential security patches that prevent attackers from exploiting vulnerabilities.

These are seven simple tools to secure your personal information and devices. What better time to take action than National Cybersecurity Awareness Month? Secure it.