5 Personal Cyber Security Tips 

Cyber security is becoming an integral part of our lives. With people spending an average of 4.8 hours a day on their phone, it’s not surprising that our digital devices hold a wealth of information about our personal lives. From your email addresses, to your passwords, contacts and often bank details, all the digital devices you use in your spare time are truly a goldmine of information for hackers. As much as security features natively built into our technology are getting better, so is the rate at which hackers and data thieves are learning to crack them. 

Data theft is a particular issue for small to medium companies with UK data showing that one small business in the UK is successfully hacked every 19 seconds, and around 65,000 attempts to hack small to medium businesses occur every day, out of which 4,500 are successful. This number should not only be concerning for business owners but for us as consumers too, as we share our personal data with companies daily – therefore the strength of their cyber security systems is the measure of how well our personal data is protected. 

There are multiple consequences to having your data breached or stolen – whether it is directly from one of your own accounts or devices, or through a third party organisation that you have given access to your data. One of the most obvious, and invasive, consequences of being hacked is the potential of having your finances stolen. Gaining access to your login details for accounts that hold sensitive or private information is another risk, and let’s not forget about hackers who simply hack into your devices with the simple aim of tinkering with the operating system causing your device to malfunction.

The good news is even though incidents of cyber security breaches are on the rise, so are the methods and tools which you can use to keep yourself safe. Some of these steps are simple enough to implement within a couple of minutes and require little technical knowledge, and can effectively help you keep your business or your family safe. We have outlined our top 5 suggestions on how you can keep yourself cyber secure below:

  • Use Antivirus Software / Firewall

Antivirus software can be easily incorporated into the majority of your home devices such as your phones, tablets and computers. Many brands of antivirus software are completely free and offer apps which you can install on your phone and tablet to add an extra layer of security. Antivirus software can be very effective at blocking malware and other malicious viruses from being able to access information across your devices.

A firewall on the other hand, is a network security system that controls the incoming and outgoing network – it creates an effective barrier between the trusted network, and potentially dangerous or untrusted network types such as the internet. Many operating systems come with their own native firewall system.

  • Use strong passwords and a password keeping tool 

The number one, and simplest way, of keeping your devices and software secure is to keep your passwords long and complicated – making them hard to guess. The universal rule when creating passwords suggests they should be at least eight letters long, preferably with a mixture of lowercase and uppercase letters, numbers and symbols. Try not to create combinations which may be too obvious, such as the first name and birth date of your child or the name of your favourite pet followed by your favourite number.

A good tip when choosing a password is to use three random words with capital letters, numbers and symbols incorporated throughout. So next time you are stuck for a new password, instead of going for your usual go to, look around you. What do you see? As strange as a password such as ‘PhotoFanPlant!123’ may sound, if it keeps your data and devices secure, why not give it a try? 

The only downfall of this technique is that these passwords may be hard to remember, which is why you should invest in a good password keeping tool. These are apps or programmes which store and encrypt your passwords for you, or alternatively you can go for an old fashion notepad with all of your passwords carefully written out, stored in a safe place. 


  • Keep your operating system and software up-to-date 

Out of date software and operating systems are an open door for hackers, malware and ransomware attacks. By not updating your software, you are not only losing out on additional security features that may have been recently integrated, but you are also losing compatibility with certain security features. As overall security features improve, keeping your software and device out of date means you are voluntarily choosing a weaker security system which can be easier to sabotage. 

So next time you get a pop up or notification telling you to update your software, instead of instinctively closing it – think about actually taking 5 minutes to follow the update instructions in order to keep yourself secure online. 


  • Use Multi-Factor Authentication 

Using multi-factor authentication is proving to be one of the most secure methods of keeping your data safe. Multi-factor authentication consists of having to go through two or more security features to be able to access a device or app. This can be commonly found across mobile banking apps – where you are asked to input a password, followed by confirming your mobile number. It can also be incorporated into mobile phones and tablets, where you may be asked to present your finger print before inputting a password in order to access the device. 

Multi-factor authentication tools are useful, particularly for mobile devices, as the likelihood of someone being able to crack two security walls is slim. If you lose your phone or tablet, multi-factor authentication can make it near impossible for someone to access your information.


  • Don’t use public Wi-Fi

The potential of public wi-fi as a cyber security risk is greater than many people anticipate. Public Wi-Fi is actually one of the greatest threats when it comes to the theft of personal information. It can be easily accessed by anybody without a physical or cable connection, tinkered with and compromised in order to access information stored on your device. This issue is not talked about enough – as many people use coffee shops with public wifi networks daily as an alternative to working from home. 

It’s important to also pay attention to what type of network you are connecting to, as man-in-the-middle attacks are also popular. These attacks happen when someone impersonates a well recognised public Wi-Fi network usually by creating a hotspot named extremely similarly to the original name of the network. For example, if attempting to use Wi-Fi in a Starbucks coffee shop, the original Wi-Fi network may be named Starbucks_wifi, whilst the fake network may be named Starbucks_wi_fi. This tricks you into connecting to the fake Wi-Fi network and gives the hacker full access to your device. 

These are just 5 of the easy steps which you can take to protect your data and avoid a cyber attack on your devices, let us know if you use any of these!