Internet security is a bigger priority than ever for New Zealanders, according to research from InternetNZ. More than 30 percent of respondents said their concern about threats to personal internet security had increased in the previous 12 months.
And is that translating into action? Well, a little. 80 percent of respondents use a PIN or password on all their devices, and 74 percent update those devices regularly. Those are really important lines of defence. A well-chosen secret PIN or password makes it much harder for someone to get into your device. Regular software updates keep your device protected from newly-discovered threats.
Around 74 to 80 percent of people doing that is pretty good. But there are another couple of areas where New Zealanders should step up their security – and you can be ahead of the curve on doing it.
Use multi-factor authentication/two-factor authentication to improve your personal internet security
This is one of our top recommendations. Multi-factor authentication (MFA, or two-factor authentication) means having two steps to access something you keep secure. It’s usually:
- something that only you know (like a password) and
- something that only you possess (like a fingerprint).
Other forms of authentication include something like a text message sent to your phone, a code in an app on your phone, or a physical key fob or USB. Even if someone figures out or hacks your password, they won’t be able to get into your account if you have multi-factor authentication.
At the moment, only 35 percent of New Zealanders use multi-factor authentication. Maybe it still seems a little alien, or a bit of a hassle. But it really steps up your security a lot without much work.
Let’s say your password gets compromised in a hack. We all know it happens; we hear it in the news every few months, but it happens every day. If a hacker has your username and password they can probably get into your account from anywhere.
But if you have multi-factor authentication enabled, it makes it a lot harder.
Say they enter that username and password. With MFA, they might be prompted to enter a code. That code will come to your phone – which they probably don’t have. (And if you have MFA on the phone, it makes the whole thing even more challenging for them.)
By adding just one more simple step, you add immeasurable protection to what you value. So start using it, kiwis! Most popular online services offer a form of it – dig around in your account settings to find it. Otherwise, we can help get an easy, fast, no-hassle option set up for your business systems and applications.
Back up your devices
Sometimes things do go wrong. You get a virus and it lays ruin to your files. Or someone steals your device. Or someone locks it with ransomware, demanding payment in exchange for returning your access.
Backup is insurance against this. If your files are safe and secure in another location, then you can retrieve them from there if something goes wrong with their original location.
At the moment, only 50 percent of New Zealanders back up their devices. And if those files go, they’re not coming back.
Good news is, backup is becoming more and more straightforward. Usually once you’ve got it set up, you don’t really have to do anything to keep it doing its thing.
We reckon backup is so important for your IT security we made recovery one of the foundation components of our 4Pillars™ Security. We offer backup for business with our New Zealand-based CloudBackup and TotalDR. We can also recommend a few options for your personal devices – check out this best practice guide for a few ideas.