Christmas is a busy time of year for everyone – running around buying presents, finishing end of year work tasks before a well-deserved break, and travelling around to meet up with loved ones for the festive period. While filled with joy and cheer, Christmas can be overwhelming, and it is easy to forget important tasks when you’re run off your feet.
The holiday period is also renowned for seeing spikes in cybercrime. Cybercriminals follow money trails of online gift shopping and take advantage of people left off guard as they relax during the holidays. After all, it’s easy to forget being cyber secure while tucking into a Christmas roast.
But, this is where lists really shine as the true stars of Christmas. Not only do they help remember any gifts or last-minute errands before the big day, but they also can protect you from any pesky cyber criminals working their way onto the naughty list and into your digital universe.
This year the edgescan team have put together the ultimate cybersecurity checklist so you can avoid any security stress this winter, helping to protect you against Christmas cybercrime:
- Write an inventory of all your smart devices.
A good first step is writing an inventory of all your smart devices. Smart devices that are constantly connected to the internet increase the risk of a security compromise. It is important to write an inventory of these devices so you are aware of them, how they can create access for cybercriminals, and how you can protect them.
- Don’t use default passcodes to protect devices
If you have a password protected device, make sure you change the default PINs or passcodes the device came with. The default passwords that are given in the device manual, are also in the same device manual the attackers have access to. This is especially important to remember when receiving devices as gifts during the festive period.
- Disconnect non-essential smart devices
Once you have made your inventory, check which of these devices need to be connected to the internet, and which don’t need to take advantage of their connected functionalities. When you are left with the remaining connected devices, update these manually or define a window in which the device can access the internet and apply necessary updates.
- Don’t forget your router
Routers are incredibly insecure, and it is easy to forget about protecting them. It is always good practice to make sure your router is fully updated, so see this as your sign to book in regular reminders to run router updates.
- Be wary of purchasing cheap connected devices online.
It is especially important during the gifting period to be cautious of buying cheap connected devices online. It’s tempting to nab a good deal, but a device may only be discounted because the manufacturer has compromised on the product’s security functions. When you see a good deal on a connected device make sure you do your due diligence and find out if it is from a reputable manufacturer.
- Add non-sensitive smart devices to ‘guest’ networks
If there are devices that don’t contain sensitive data (e.g coffee machine, fridge), then you can connect these devices to a separate network. By connecting these devices to what is essentially a ‘guest’ network, you are still able to use these devices, while separating them from more sensitive devices, such as laptops – adding in an extra layer of security.
- Protect your privacy
In order to protect your data while browning for gifts this year, always use a private browser window for “anonymous” browsing. When using a private window don’t sign into any websites and close them periodically.
- Be aware of your device’s life cycle
Being aware of your devices life cycle means you are also aware of when it needs patch updates, whether you can still use your product if the manufacturer ceases to exist, or if there is support available if your device goes wrong.
Happy holidays, and stay safe!