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Do I need to protect my _____________ from hackers?

Fill in the blank with any of today’s technology, phones, tablets even Smart TV’s!
Hackers are everywhere these days, so the answer is yes.

The protection of your devices may not seem crucial until something happens. Hackers are using more and more resources to get to your personal information, so ask yourself a couple of questions;

  1. Do you use your device to access your bank account?
  2. Do you use your device to access other devices that access private personal information (in other words, do you remote into your computer at the office?)
  3. Do you receive email from your office, bank or other places that have access to your private personal information?
  4. Do you load apps from 3rd party companies?

If you said yes to any of these then you need to protect your device.

So what is the best way to protect your devices? Well, let’s take a look;

Tablets and phones running Android – The biggest issue with Android is applications installed from what is called side-load apps, these are applications loaded from sources other than Googles App Store. App’s downloaded from Google are generally safe as Google screens all applications and removes any that may be infected or installing malware. If you use side-load apps you should consider getting some antivirus software.

Tablets and phones running iOS – Apple, much like Android has malware as well, although most Apple people dislike this comparison all together, iOS is just another operating system vulnerable to hackers like everyone else. And much like the Google app store the Apple app store verifies its applications as well. Unlike Android there are no antivirus software for these devices. Apples recommendation is to keep the device updated and protected with a secure, strong and independent password from your other devices.

Tablets and phones running Windows – Just like your desktop at work, these tablets and phones run the same base operating system, although it is not a full version of the Windows OS it is susceptible to the same viruses and malware. With these devices it is recommended to use a full antivirus software that protects you against virus and malware attacks.

SmartTV’s – Smart Watches, and other internet connected devices– This is a new entry into the malware arena and as of yet there has not been an attack directed at these devices, but it is only a matter of time. SmartTV’s, smart watches and other devices do have a form on OS (operating System) to enable you to connect to Netflix, YouTube your email, and other internet related sites. So it is only logical that someone will create a malware to attack these systems as well. It is important to keep this in mind for your overall protection as we progress into the future.

The second largest security hole is hackers intercepting your data over the air/internet.

What does this mean? Picture yourself in the airport or favorite coffee shop and you want to connect to their free wireless internet. Hackers can intercept your signal on that network and hack right into the data you are transmitting back and forth to sites and devices.

The best defense here is a VPN or Virtual Private Network. A VPN will create a secure encrypted tunnel to the websites you will be visiting so when you are connected to the VPN the data traveling from your device to the website and back is encrypted. VPN software is available for all phones and tablets on the market today and cost very little per month to protect you.

Lastly, what happens to your device if it is lost or stolen?

If your device has data on it documents, downloads of office related items, private pictures, etc. this can be a real problem. Many devices have a password or lock on them, but these can be hacked (yes, even the iPhone just ask the FBI). So, how can you protect it? For Companies, most IT vendors can provide software security that allows them to do several things such as; locate the device (if it is on and has gps capability like most phones) wipe the device of all data, and even turn on the camera to see who is using the device. Ask your company IT provider for more information on these services. There are also a few publicly available software companies that provide this service as well such as Lookout.com or enabling Find My iPhone on Apple.

So consider your device usage and gauge your risk. Use the appropriate protections and keep your devices happy, safe and hacker free!