11 practical New Year’s resolutions from Kaspersky Lab
Beyond losing weight and changing bad habits, Kaspersky Lab discussed in its most recent podcast 11 highly doable New Year’s resolutions which will keep users safe online.
The global cybersecurity company recommended the practical resolutions below that will greatly help highly active netizens better manage their data and money on the internet.
1) Use of IoT devices — connected devices, smart devices.
Kaspersky Lab recommended users to think thoroughly in terms of using and living with highly vulnerable IoT devices. The cybersecurity company said that if such devices are not adding value or quality to one’s life, now is a good time to get rid of them or disconnect them from the internet.
“We’ve done a lot of research around IoT devices and the security flaws that they inherently have. If you do genuinely use them, then keep them. If you’re not using them or the stuff is just there doing nothing, think about getting rid of them,” said Dave Buxton, Head of Social Media for UK, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.
“It’s a matter of preferences. If you got one as a gift, try it out if you like it but make sure you change the password if you can. Put it on guest network, not your main network, so you can mitigate the security impact on you,” said Jeff Esposito, Global Head of Regional Social media.
2) It’s a #NewYearNewMe for cybercriminals, too.
Everybody knows people are looking for deals and offers they can get at the beginning of the year. Kaspersky Lab suggests users to be careful with opening links of sale events as some of these could be something more than meets the eye.
“Cybercriminals always use launch events as stimulus for their phishing campaigns. It happens every year. Sales are going on and stores are getting rid of old stuff, offering great deals as much as 60% off. People get carried away and just click on the links without paying attention really well on the legitimacy of the links and we know what happens next. Check those emails and make sure you’ve been a bit more fastidious with internet hygiene,” said Buxton.
3) Secure your new device.
Some people receive tech devices as gifts during the holidays and Kaspersky Lab proposes to insure and protect these devices as a 2019 resolution.
“Brand new devices that one gets as gifts could also get stolen or which might be accidentally dropped on the floor. If these are not protected or insured, then you’ll have to buy another one. It’s worth considering getting an insurance for such expensive items,” said Esposito.
4) Update your new devices.
There are those who got lucky with Santa and got high-priced holiday gifts such as laptops. The cybersecurity company advises that if such brand new gifts do not have updated operating systems, a good new year’s resolution is to update them right away because an old update means getting some vulnerabilities in the computer.
Kaspersky Lab said most devices, especially out of the box, are usually at least a few months behind in terms of updates. So setting updates as soon as getting these tech gifts to install either overnight or automatically is ideal.
“Right before the holidays, I was testing out a new Samsung Note to see if I can use it as a work/travel computer for me and I found out it was three versions of Android behind and it took more than 3.5 hours for the updates to finish,” shared Esposito.
Pro tip: If buying a device for a friend or family member, a valuable idea is to get it out of the box, update it, and then put it back into the box.
5) Get an anti-virus for your Android device, whether free or paid.
Kaspersky Lab says this is a reasonable resolution as getting one really doesn’t take a lot of footprint in terms of memory or CPU usage. It keeps one’s device protected.
6) Shore up your Wi-Fi.
The cybersecurity company encouraged Wi-Fi users to ensure their router has the most up-to-date security settings.
“You can Google your router’s IP address, you can even look at the back of the router, and check all details there. And if you haven’t changed your password or username yet, get on that as well,” said Esposito. “Make sure family and friends are doing the same thing, too. The router is your gateway in and out of the Internet, so to speak, so make sure it’s protected,” added Buxton.
7) Lock your online accounts better.
Kaspersky Lab says if one is using any type of online account, whether it’s Gmail or Facebook or Twitter, it’s a nifty New Year’s resolution to set up a good type of two-factor authentication or 2FA. In simpler terms, 2FAs are two separate pieces of information that verifies one’s identity.
“Consider getting a third party authenticator app to verify versus a text message or you can use security keys. Sometimes we have to use different ways because certain networks do not have everything enabled. These doesn’t cost anything. And it’s one way to stop getting your private sites stolen,” said Esposito.
8) Include online accounts when doing spring cleaning, especially social media accounts.
“MySpace was massive back in the day but now, nobody uses it anymore. If you’re not using it anymore, you likely won’t be using it in the future so just deactivate or delete it entirely. Get rid of the stuff you no longer use. Even email accounts that do nothing but collect spams,” Buxton said.
9) Get a password manager to help with account passwords.
Old social media or email accounts most likely bear passwords as old as 12 years old and these has to go. The cybersecurity experts say passwords don’t have to be hard — one can use a password manager that can generate a brand new key for each online account.
“Apple is very good with this as it stores passwords using their iCloud keychain. In a sense, you almost don’t need a password manager if you’re using purely Apple devices. But for other devices, free password managers are still not available. Kaspersky has its own reliable Password Manager. LastPass is also a good option. Contrary to common misconception, password managers are not complicated. Just set up one tough password, add 2FA onto it, and just let Kaspersky or LastPass or any password manager help manage your account for you. It’s that simple,” explains Buxton.
10) Tidy up apps on devices.
As another New Year’s resolution, Kaspersky Lab reminds users to evaluate whether they really need all the apps on their phone or not.
“There are apps you don’t need on your devices but are still collecting your data and maybe sharing your location and making money out of it,” said Esposito.
Buxton recommends to look up on the privacy details of the apps on one’s device to understand what these do. He says there are some dedicated sites that simplify privacy rules and written in layman’s terms so one can easily understand what these are really about.
11) Make sure to keep oneself safe online.
The cybersecurity company says some people might feel paranoid reading that AV is dead. Generally speaking, a good anti-virus solution still keeps one safe online. One can even get it for free. Kaspersky Lab offers both free and paid solutions.
“That’s one thing to help you keep secure on the web. If you want to go ultra-paranoid about safety, start thinking about going through the VPN route. But for most people, the normal Joe or Jane on the street — having any AV solution on their devices is good enough,” said Buxton.