Portable devices such as laptops and smartphones have become an essential part of our everyday life, and although convenient, they are also a key target for cybercriminals.
To avoid cybercriminals compromising your valuable and sensitive personal information, it is important to secure your devices and know how to stay secure online.
Treat your portable device like your wallet. Keep it safe or with you at all times.
The Australia Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) has the following advice for portable device owners:
- Lock your portable device with passphrase, password, PIN, or biometrics. Make it difficult to guess – your date of birth and pattern locks are easy for cybercriminals to discover. Use a passphrase for optimal security. You might also consider using facial recognition or a fingerprint to unlock your portable device.
- Regularly back up your files to an external storage device or to the cloud. Backing up is a precautionary measure so that your information can be recovered in case it is ever lost, stolen, or damaged. Ideally, backups of important information should be kept on at least two other devices.
- Encrypt your portable device. Even though your portable device might be protected using a unique strong passphrase, cybercriminals can still access the hard drive and access your information if it’s not encrypted. You can get more information about encryption from the ACSC’s Personal Cyber Security: Advanced Steps Guide.
- Ensure your portable device is set to automatically lock after a short time of inactivity, such as five minutes.
If you find a random cord or USB device, never plug it into your portable device. It could be infected with malware. Likewise, don’t allow other people to plug their cables or devices into your portable device.
Remember to thoroughly remove sensitive and personal information from your portable devices before selling or disposing of them. If possible, ensure the encryption method used on your laptop includes pre-boot authentication, which will ask for an additional password before you log on. This will keep your files encrypted even if a cybercriminal tries to bypass your device’s security.
The ACSC’s Quick Wins for Your Portable Devices provides further advice on how you can best secure your portable devices from cybercriminals ensuring software and wireless internet connections are safe.
The website IDCARE can also assist with identity and cyber security concerns, including identity theft, hacking and lost or stolen credentials. If you are concerned the security of your mobile device has been compromised, please call us on 1300 688 825.