Identifying common problems that plague certain devices is key to identifying your digital security risk. Just one hacking episode could cause you to lose money, confidential information or even your identity.
To help you better understand your own digital security risks, here’s a list of the most common security issues affecting electronic devices.
- No passwords. This is especially common on our mobile devices. While accessing your phone with a simple finger swipe is convenient, it does make your device vulnerable to thieves. It’s better to lock your mobile device with a simple password or PIN.
- Malware. Short for malicious software, malware includes any software designed to hamper a computer’s operation or to gain access to sensitive information or systems. It is very easy for mobile devices to pick up malware applications when downloading apps. In these instances, the malware is often designed to appear as a game, patch (a piece of software designed to update, fix or improve a computer program or its supporting data) or other useful piece of information. By being careful about what you download and checking app reviews beforehand, you can help keep malware from infecting your mobile device.
- Out-of-date software and operating systems. In today’s ever-changing technological landscape, a technology’s window of relevance is very short. The potential for security concerns increases the more out-of-date your software and operating system are. A patch or update may be available, but this depends largely on the provider.
- Lack of firewalls. Many mobile devices lack the firewalls necessary to limit Internet connections. This allows potential hackers to access a device in wide-open network areas and possibly gain valuable information. Securing a device with a firewall reduces this threat.
- Viruses. Viruses can damage a device or permit access to sensitive information. The best defense is to be careful about what you download onto your device. This is especially important with respect to devices that let you check email. Many email devices are designed to attack a victim’s email address book and send virus-coded messages to contacts. Always think twice before downloading a program or opening an attachment. If you’re not sure the attachment is safe, it’s best to check with the sender before you click anything.