This should be an interesting year when it comes to keeping your data safe. Odds are you (and even your parents!) either have or will have a smartphone of some sort this year, and odds are evildoers will be trying their hardest to ruin your life: steal your credit card info, hack your Twitter account, order 10 pizzas and send them your house without you knowing, etc. Traitorware! We’re living on the edge of a lightning bolt here. With that in mind, McAfee has compiled a quick list of things that should help your make 2011 as safe a year as possible. Conversely, you could permanently disconnect from the Internet. Your call.
1. Mobile phones are next. McAfee says mobile phones will increasingly be targeted by evildoers, so treat your phone like it’s your pet kitten; guard it with your life. One handy tip: don’t keep all of your passwords stored locally on your phone. All it would take is one nosy kid getting access to your phone and then you’d be up a certain creek.
2. Everything is connected to the Internet now, so the opportunity for danger lies all over the place. I seem to recall Internet-connected refrigerators being touted at CES last week. It beehives you to be alert when dealing with Internet-connected devices.
3. McAfee recommends you rock encrypted USB thumb drives to store sensitive information. May I also recommend you try to memorize as many passwords as possible? Your brain is pretty powerful: use it!
4. Keep your anti-virus software up-to-date. Easy enough!
5. Oooo, here’s a controversial one: don’t trust your security to free anti-virus software. (Take that, AVG!) Newer anti-virus software can also provide Cloud-based protection—let the almighty Cloud protect you!
The other points pretty much fall under the “common sense” banner: keep an eye on what your kids do online (not only to protect them from inappropriate content, but to ensure they’re not rummaging around shady pirate blogs and gunning up your system); back up your information if it means anything at all to you.
Again, I’m pretty sure most of you guys know all of these things, know how to work around the Internet without blowing up your spot, but perhaps your less savvy friends could use a pointer?