Lock it down

Keep your data safe

Once, all you had to worry about in terms of digital security was making sure your antivirus software was up to
date. Now, with the host of devices we use and their constant connection to the internet, it’s more important than ever to understand how best to keep your information safe.

Below you’ll and a few tips on how to secure your specific devices, but a few best practices apply across the board:

  1. Don’t open any suspicious web links, whether that’s through text, email or pop-up ad.
  2. Keep your devices updated. New vulnerabilities are discovered periodically, and companies are pretty good at offering patches or security upgrades.
  3. Where available — or practical — use two- step verification to access your accounts, which usually means getting a text or email to con rm your identity. Also, audit your security questions so they don’t include information that is widely available or easy to guess.


Not only is an iPhone an expensive device, but if you’re like most users, it also holds a wealth of personal information. A good way to locate your device is to activate Find My iPhone, which can help you see your phone’s location. If you know it’s lost, you can also remotely wipe it and remove personal information.

Other ways to stay safe are to use a longer passcode than the traditional four-number PIN. The passcode can also be switched to alphanumeric, a combination of letters and numbers, for even more security. Consider enabling the erase data setting, which wipes your information after 10 incorrect passcode attempts. Parents with a curious toddler might wish to avoid that setting.


Android devices are a little more open to user customization than Apple’s closed system, which makes them somewhat more vulnerable. Activate Google’s Find My Device and encrypt your data. Unless you have a Google-branded phone, that option is not on by default, so change it in settings under security. Then, install a security application, such as Avast or AVG. Also, opt to download apps only from Google Play or other secure sources, such as Amazon or Samsung.


Security on a personal computer mostly means internet safety. Don’t install suspect soft- ware, and don’t install Google Chrome extensions from unknown providers.

You can also encrypt your information. If someone gains access to your secured files, they can’t be opened without a password. That feature is available on most modern operating systems. It’s also always a good idea to back up your data, either physically through an external hard drive not connected to the internet, on the cloud, or both.


If you use “admin” as your username, and “password” as your password — stop. The No. 1 thing people forget to do is change their router’s default login information. You may have a good password for your Wi-Fi network, but if someone can gain access to your router, it won’t matter.

Also, use the WPA2 security standard for your network. If practical, you can make your Wi-Fi invisible by telling your router to stop broadcasting its name, or Service Set Identifier (SSID). Just remember what you called your network so you can manually share that with trusted devices.

Smart Devices

Use your router’s “guest” network feature to connect all your smart devices. If you do, even if a hacker gains access, your computer or phone will be walled off from the primary network.