(BPT) - What better gift is there than getting a fresh new phone, tablet or laptop? Upgrading your hardware can be a very exciting time - there are so many things to enjoy about new technology: Sharper cameras, more memory, faster browsing and clearer screens are just the start, and you probably won't think twice about getting a resilient new case to protect it all. But it's important to ensure that your new device stays protected inside and out. It doesn't take long for unprotected new devices to attract malware or start leaking data. What's more, as cyberthreats evolve by the minute, protecting your device is a journey that requires ongoing vigilance. So, here's what you need to know to keep your device as safe on the inside as the day you unboxed it:
1) Install all the updates, straight away: Installing software updates is one of the most important things you can do to stay cybersecure, and downloading software patches is the first thing you should do on a brand-new device. Be sure to check for and install available updates immediately, and set up automatic updates moving forward. And next time an app offers you an update, click 'yes' instead of 'no,' 'cancel' or 'remind me later.'
2) Get smart about passwords: Strong passwords keep your data safe, so don't let yourself choose feeble passwords in 2022, and don't reuse or share them. Remember, the first rule of passwords is you do not talk about passwords. Focus on creating the longest passwords you can and save yourself the bother of having to remember them by using a password manager. As well as remembering your passwords for you, a password manager will ensure they are hard to guess and stored securely.
3) Two (factors) are better than one: Enable two-factor authentication (2FA) on your new device to ensure only you can unlock it. 2FA means you will be required to verify your identity using two authentication factors, such as a password or PIN in combination with fingerprint or face recognition. This keeps your data safe even if somebody steals your device and guesses your password.
4) Be alert for scams: Scams come in all shapes and sizes, but no matter how they're dressed up, they always want something valuable, urgently. Be on the lookout for calls, texts, emails or other scams that ask you to click on links or hand over personal information, even if they look like they've come from somebody you know.
5) Use protection: Install an anti-malware program on your phone or computer so that you are protected from malware, malicious websites, unwanted tracking, unwanted apps that slow down your device and other threats. Malwarebytes has a popular free tool to scan and remove any malware lurking on your device, as well as proactive protection to keep you continuously safe online. Finally, consider using a VPN to keep your personal information private when you are online.
Keep these tips in mind to ensure that you don't get into trouble on your new devices in 2022. Whether Apple or Android, Mac or PC, no device is immune to malware. Be sure to apply online protection best practices no matter what device, network or operating system you use for a safe and secure 2022.