Security tips Q&A with Mark James

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Mark James, ESET IT Security Specialist, answers a few important questions about where users are most vulnerable, simple steps to protecting data, passwords and more.

Where are users most vulnerable?

Free unsecured Wi-Fi is always a concern but posting your entire life movements on social media could be even worse. Telling the world you’re on holiday for two weeks with no one at home is like putting a sign outside your front door.

“Be careful about what you store in the cloud, private photos are best kept on a digital camera, not stored on your phone and uploaded to a cloud server for someone else to protect.”

Simple steps to protect your data?

“Think about a password manager if you have too many passwords to remember, periodically change passwords for sensitive data like social media and financial logins and never let anyone else know your passwords. Always remember “nothing” stored on the Internet is private no matter how big or secure the company holding it is: there is always the possibility that it may be hacked.”

Is software to keep out thieves useful?

“Yes definitely, multi-layered protection is the best way to protect your data, you can’t protect 100% of the time but you can make things harder for the people taking your data.”

Is OSX safer than Windows?

“In a word no: every operating system has risks, there are many nasty pieces of malware for all platforms. Windows is by far the biggest targeted operating system so it gets the biggest coverage but malware has been written for almost all platforms.”

Is there an advantage to using premium software over free software?

“Yes you can get free options but often the benefits of paid for programs outweigh the perceived savings, good technical support, premium features and regular updates all require funding to be effective, nothing is actually free.”

How to choose a password that online hackers can’t break?

“Choosing a password could be as simple as having a passphrase you remember and then adding information to make it unique. Keep away from single dictionary words and don’t be fooled into thinking by adding a number “0” instead of the letter “o” will make your passw0rd any safer from being guessed.

“The programs used by cyber criminals these days will try those variants. Use a group of words together with numbers, upper and lower case letters and if possible a few non-standard characters.”

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