It’s the Black Friday sales soon, and many of you will be thinking about picking up shiny new phones, laptops and tablets in the sales. But will you be thinking about how secure they are?

The last thing you want  – having spent your hard-earned money on that device you’ve been eyeing for months – is for someone to do something malicious to it. This blog suggests some simple steps that can help keep your devices secure.

What kind of ‘malicious’ things?

You’ll want to stop a hacker doing anything to your device without your permission. This could be accessing your data (such as emails, pictures, and contacts), or tracking you by storing your location data.

I’ve bought devices before, why should I be concerned now?

This isn’t a new concern for us here at the NCSC. We’ve always encouraged people to secure their devices, and not just around Black Friday. Buying a new device is an ideal time to have a look at the available security features, and see which ones make sense for you to use.

How can I secure my phone/tablet/laptop?

The NCSC and Home Office published some brilliant advice about how to secure your devices (PDF), broken down into seven even simple sections.

  • Controlling access to your device
  • Keeping your device up to date
  • Using your device’s security and privacy features
  • Detecting and preventing malware
  • Ensuring your data cannot be accessed
  • Using the internet securely
  • Reducing the damage of a lost or stolen device

If you read the guide, you’ll be able to see how the devices you’re considering rate against these sections.

I’m not very technical. Will this advice go over my head?

Hopefully not. The advice is written in plain English, with no jargon or confusing acronyms, so it can be understood by anyone. It’s definitely worth skimming through when you have a spare 5 minutes. If you need more reassurance, you can ask the retailer how the device addresses the security aspects described in the guidance, before you buy.

I’ve not had any problems with my devices before, do I need this?

You may not have had any problems or issues with your current device, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be affected later on. Imagine losing your phone whilst out and about. Would you be able to find it? If it was stolen, could you remotely delete all its contents so nobody could see what was on it? More importantly, is it protected so that no-one else can access the data stored on it?

Taking a few minutes to secure your device now could save you a world of pain in the future. Even if you think you’ve already secured your device, why not have a look to see if you’ve missed anything?

Do you have any discount codes for Black Friday?

Sorry, but we only give out advice, not vouchers! We do have more advice on securing your devices (mainly geared towards small businesses), that you may also find useful.

In the meantime, please enjoy your shiny devices, and keep checking back to see if there are any blogs that interest you.

Tom W
EUD Security Researcher

Source: National Cyber Security Centre

With over 20 years of experience, Serviceteam IT design and deliver sophisticated connectivity, communication, continuity, and cloud services, for organisations that need to stay connected 24/7. We take the time to fully understand your current challenges, and provide a solution that gives you a clear understanding of what you are purchasing and the benefits it will bring you.

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