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NCSAM 2020 - It’s not magic. It’s your data.

We’ve discussed, throughout National Cyber Security Awareness Month so far, the general practices and best steps to keep your information secure. But there is more specific information to know about locking down your devices.

Of course, we use smartphones for every aspect of our lives, so there are numerous vectors for bad actors to get into the wealth of information that defines you through your phone. To minimize the risk of infiltration, you should:

  • Remove unused apps

  • Only allow permissions necessary for an app’s functionality; for example, disable location services for apps that don’t require it, and keep in mind that photos can store GPS data

  • Not store passwords in text documents and notepads

  • Avoid using “sign in with Facebook” options; services can be more easily tracked and accessible by vulnerabilities this way

  • Keep an eye out for third-party cookies, which track your information across the web

Besides your ever-present phone, you may use any number of other devices connected to the “Internet of Things” (IoT). We’ve discussed using a VPN for devices in public, but you should also keep an eye on Bluetooth (turn it off when you’re not using it!) and the permissions and information devices like smartwatches and other wearables have.

At the end of the day, an important approach to device security is to be aware of what each app and service you use collects from you. It’s impossible to stay connected and not share a lot of information about yourself to corporations, and in doing so, there is some risk to that information falling into the wrong hands. Take these steps and know that although your data is out there, don’t fear it. And secure it!

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