Following the recent Pegasus spyware scare and growth of cybercrime, it pays to be diligent online. To point you in the right direction, the National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC) has released a few tips for the average citizen, which also apply to iPhone and Mac users.
The NCSC tweeted a link to a poster with information and tips for essential cybersecurity. The agency and State Department have jointly compiled the list of suggestions.
To stay safe from spyware and ransomware attacks, the agency’s bulletin suggests you take the following precautions:
- Regularly update device operating systems and mobile applications.
- Be suspicious of content from unfamiliar senders, especially those containing links or attachments.
- Don’t click on suspicious links or suspicious emails and attachments.
- Check URLs before clicking links, or go to websites directly.
- Regularly restart mobile devices, which may help damage or remove malware implants.
- Encrypt and password-protect your device.
- Maintain physical control of your device when possible.
- Use trusted Virtual Private Networks (VPNs).
- Disable geolocation options and cover cameras on devices.
- While these steps mitigate risks, they don’t eliminate them. It’s always safest to behave as if the device is compromised, so be mindful of sensitive content.
Commercial surveillance tools are also being used in ways that pose a serious counterintelligence and security risk to U.S. personnel and systems. Today’s @NCSCgov and @StateDept bulletin offers cybersecurity practices that may mitigate risks. https://t.co/CBSsUBVWqL pic.twitter.com/ffo8OPOEMP
— NCSC (@NCSCgov) January 7, 2022
There are a few other precautions iPhone and Mac users could exercise:
- Set up two-factor authentication on platforms that support it. If one of your accounts is compromised, bad actors won’t be able to access it without the second authorization key.
- Use apps like Google Authenticator for iOS.
- Rely on a password manager like the one built into Google Chrome and Safari. These remember passwords for you and even generate secure new passwords to avoid reusing passwords across websites confidently.
- If your security online has been compromised by bad actors, immediately get in touch with the local law enforcement for assistance.
- Use reliable antivirus software with ransomware protection and real-time network security features.
- Do not pirate software, apps, or other electronic media from unreliable sources. Such software could conceal malicious programs and breach your privacy.
- Avoid using cloud storage services that are unencrypted. Instead, rely on iCloud or build yourself a NAS that offers better value for money in the long run.
This list of precautions is by no means exhaustive. However, caution and small changes in your online habits can go a long way in keeping your iPhone and Mac data safe. If you found this guide helpful or have other online safety tips to share with our readers, please put them in the comments section below.