2020 Cyber Security recommendations

We've entered a new decade, and along with the resolutions that we all make, it seems like the perfect time to perform a bit of cyber security check. A lot of readers will have likely received some form of new technology over the Christmas period which also emphasises that we shouldn't be getting carried away with the technology before ensuring it's safe to use or that what it's replacing is safely archived/destroyed. To help with this we have pulled together a list of some great cyber hygiene tasks below.

1> A replacement item, means that something's going in the bin, on the shelf or being hidden in a drawer. What everyone should be doing is powering up the old item, and copying over any information that is to be retained, and then removing everything else so that the device has nothing important on it.

2> Any technology or old paperwork that is being thrown in the trash, needs to be done so correctly. Firstly if it's electronic, it needs to go an appropriate electronics destruction facility. Secondly before doing this all storage should be removed. If it's a hard drive put a drill through it a few times, smash it up with a hammer and if it's another form of storage such as an SD card, then again take a hammer to it. This will prevent the storage from being readable again. If it's paperwork, and this is a great time to refresh the documents, then make sure they're thoroughly shredded before disposing of them. Ideally use a secure disposal company for both electronic and paper information.

3> A new cellphone, laptop or tablet has been purchased: This means there is a small check list of things that should be done.

a> Check that the item has an appropriate anti-malware solution on it. Even a free solution is better than no solution. Look at Sophos or Avast etc.

b> Ensure that the device is encrypted, if anything sensitive is going to be used on the device then it should really be encrypted. There are many solutions out there from windows based through to android and apple.

c> Put a password on the device, assuming encryption is on the device it will require a password or a pin most likely, but if not because an appropriate encryption software isn't possible, then at least password protect it. Follow password best practices for this, do not use 123456 etc.

4> This is also a great time of the year to sort through email. Yes this is a daunting task considering the scale and size of email inboxes, but if not now then when? Removing old emails, means they're not in the inbox running the risk of being exposed if your email account is ever breached.

5> Review the website accounts you have created over the last year and if they're no longer used, log into them and remove your accounts. Under the GDPR regulations you're entitled to do this, unless there is a legal reason for the account.

These are some very simple tasks to complete, but they're important and also very effective. Following this advice will assist in protecting yourself and your identity.

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