How to adopt new tech gadgets safely

How many gadgets and apps are monitoring your life now? Does your phone, tablet, or smart watch have access to your bank accounts and email? Every new device or app that you bring into your life creates vulnerability for cyber attackers to steal your identity or your data. Find out why the best time to protect yourself is when you’re setting up a new device. 

Reconsider Bluetooth Devices

If your new gadget is a Bluetooth device, you should know that Bluetooth devices have a history of insecurity. The NSA (National Security Agency) has declared Bluetooth devices unacceptable for sensitive transmissions, so be conscious about giving out personal information by voice when you’re wearing a headset.

The Bluetooth device itself isn’t the only vulnerability. When you enable Bluetooth on your phone, smartwatch, or laptop, cyber attackers can gain access to your devices or deposit “drive-by malware” into the operating systems of your devices. For maximum security, get in the habit of disabling Bluetooth when you’re not actively using it.

Get Serious About Passwords

Nearly everyone knows that you need to create secure passwords, change them often, and not use the same password for multiple accounts or devices. Setting passwords is the most important step you can take to keep your data safe, but many people are still not setting secure passwords.

Get in the habit of creating new passwords regularly. Create strong passwords by mixing up the letters of words and including random capitalization and punctuation as well as a blend of letters and numbers in each password.

Set Up a VPN

A virtual private network, or VPN, offers a secure portal for accessing the internet. If you often tap into public Wi-Fi networks, a VPN is an essential layer of protection for your data and will also protect your device access location. Many VPN accounts will cover multiple devices, so every time you acquire a Wi-Fi–enabled device, take a moment to set up your VPN account on the new device. A VPN may slow your internet speeds, but you’ll appreciate the extra protection.

Know Your Rights

A confusing network of laws at the state and federal levels governs digital privacy rights in the United States. In early 2017, some major protections rolled back, which now allows your ISP (internet service provider) to sell your browsing history. You’ll need to read up on legislation at the state level to understand your rights. Laws in the European Union (EU) are simpler and more clear-cut, but recent changes in the EU GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) will take effect in 2018, so you should review these new provisions on digital privacy rights.

When you bring new digital devices into your tech arsenal, you are also creating new opportunities for data breaches. You can easily forget about data security when you’re distracted by the thrill of a new device, but you need to safeguard your data. Setting up secure passwords, installing a VPN, and understanding the risk you’re taking with an open Bluetooth connection are important steps you can take toward securing your data.

Article Submitted By Community Writer

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