"Inadequately secured PCs and mobile devices make it particularly easy for cyber criminals to attack users and steal personal data, such as credit card information and access data for payment services and online shops," explains Eddy Willems, G Data Security Evangelist. "In this respect unclosed security holes due to out-of-date software and operating systems, and manipulated apps on mobile devices, make ideal gateways for the perpetrators. Users should therefore see the New Year as an opportunity to comprehensively secure PCs, smartphones and tablets."
Good IT security resolutions for 2014
General resolutions for Internet users
- Install a security solution: A powerful security solution is one of the fundamental tools for any Internet user. Besides virus protection, it should also include a firewall, spam and real-time protection against web threats, and receive regular updates.
- Install all updates: The operating system and all installed applications should be kept fully up-to-date by loading available patches, service packs and updates. Obsolete programs that are no longer supported by the provider should be removed and replaced with a newer version if necessary.
- Delete online user accounts that are no longer required: Payment services, social networks, online shops, email providers – Internet users often have a wide range of different user accounts on the web. Hence it is worthwhile regularly checking whether each of these is still required. Access data that is no longer used should be deleted for security reasons.
- Change passwords: Users should change passwords for user accounts at online shops, social networks and all other portals on the net at regular intervals. Secure passwords consist of a random sequence of numbers, special characters and upper and lower case letters. Warning: avoid using terms that can be found in dictionaries – this makes it particularly hard for attackers to hack the password.
- Back up data: A backup saves all critical data such as family photos or videos in case of loss due to an infection or system crash. Furthermore, a system image backs up the entire hard disk with all installed programs. Powerful security solutions frequently include a backup module, so there is no longer any need to purchase any additional software.
Resolutions for mobile devices
- Secure smartphone and tablets: Mobile devices are no less in need of protection than PCs. Therefore smartphones and tablets should be equipped with a comprehensive security app. This should include reliable protection against malicious applications and secure the device against the fatal consequences of loss.
- Apps only from secure sources: Applications should only be taken from trustworthy app stores such as Google Play for Android and provider and device manufacturer stores. When doing so, the required permissions should be checked with particular care. With applications already installed, the clear permission checker in G Data Internet Security for Android will help.
- Backup copies on the PC: Users should regularly back up data stored on the smartphone or tablet to their computer so it does not get lost.