Your Christmas stocking might be full of exciting gadgets for you to switch on and enjoy, if you have been nice and not naughty!
‘Smart devices’ that connect to the internet are everyday items, but if unprotected can be hacked putting your data and privacy at risk.
NCSC (National Cyber Security Centre) were set up in 2016 to help to make the UK the safest place to live and work online.
Here are five simple steps, which can help to protect you and your family during the Christmas period and beyond:
1. Protect devices with a strong password
A common way a cybercriminal could compromise your user accounts or device is by guessing your password. Change the default password, and make sure you don’t have easily guessable passwords like ‘12345’ or ‘admin’ on your devices!
2. Turn on two-factor authentication (2FA)
You should add a second step when accessing your smart device account. This is called two-factor authentication (2FA) – set your settings to switch it ‘on’. This provides a way of 'double checking' that you really are the person you are claiming to be, and it makes it a lot harder for criminals to access your online accounts, even if they know your password.
3. Always accept automatic updates
Make sure all your devices, tablets, phones and laptops are set to automatically update their software, not only to make sure you get the latest features, but it makes you safer from the latest threats.
4. Perform a factory reset if returning / trading in
You might decide that you don’t want the gadget after playing with it for a few days. But before you return your presents or pass them on to somebody else, you should first perform a ‘factory reset’. This will ensure the device returns to its original settings and also remove all your personal data from the device.
5. What to do if something goes wrong
If you think someone has malicious control of or access to a device in your home, you should perform a factory reset. If you become aware of an incident that's been reported in the media and you think your device is affected, visit the manufacturer's website to see if there's information available on what you should do.
For more advice and full information on how to protect you and your family please check out the NCSC website.
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