Every day a new trend pops up. A new profile pic app, officially named “NewProfilePic Picture Editor” in the Apple Store and “NewProfilePic: Profile Picture” in the Google Play store, raced to the top of the mobile charts this month, getting hundreds of thousands of downloads. This new trend has taken Facebook by storm. With its popularity also came some reservations.  

Cybersecurity on new app.

 Image: Google Play Store

On social media, comments began to circulate saying that the software was a Russian virus scam. Some social media users reported that the program was illegally stealing data. Others claimed it was based in Russia and had ties to the Russian government. Another allegation claimed that the software was spyware that was stealing money from people’s accounts. We investigated each of these assertions and determined that they were mostly false or unsupported. While this app does gather certain user information, its privacy policy is standard. 

With possible scams like these circulating one cannot be too careful when protecting your data. Whether you need to protect your personal data or your work data, the key components stay the same. For this article, we will be focusing on business data.  

Below we will look at a few ways you can protect your data from hackers and scammers: 

Install a firewall 

Firewalls are incorporated into Windows and macOS to provide a barrier between your information and the outside world. Firewalls protect your corporate network from unwanted access and notify you of any incursion attempts. 

Before you go online, make sure the firewall is turned on. Depending on your broadband router, which also includes a built-in firewall that secures your network, you can purchase a hardware firewall from businesses like Cisco, Sophos, or Fortinet. You can buy an additional business networking firewall if you have a larger company. 

Make a backup of your PC 

If your company does not currently back up its hard disc, you should start doing so right now. Backing up your data is essential in the event that hackers gain access to your system and destroy it. 

Always ensure that you can recover as quickly as possible following a data breach or loss. Start with the backup applications integrated into macOS (Time Machine) and Windows (File History). These utilities can also benefit from having enough capacity on an external backup hard disc. 

Ignore spam messages 

Always be wary of emails from unknown senders, and never click on links or open attachments in them. Spam filters in email inboxes have gotten very good at catching the most obvious spam. However, more sophisticated phishing emails that imitate your friends, associates, and trustworthy businesses (such as your bank) have become more popular, so be wary of anything that looks or sounds strange. 

Use a strong password 

The most important strategy to prevent network breaches is to use safe passwords. A hacker will have a harder time breaking into your system if your passwords are safe. More security often equals more time and complexity. Make your password at least eight characters long and include a mix of numbers, uppercase and lowercase letters, and computer symbols. Hackers often have toolkits that allow them to break short, simple passwords in minutes. 

Use no recognisable phrases or combinations that signify birthdays or other personally identifiable information. Don’t use the same password twice. Consider utilising a password manager if you have a lot of passwords to remember. A great option would be to keep your profiles private. Open profiles are much easier to hack. 

What about cybersecurity on phones? 

Protecting your phone is just as important as protecting your PC. You may need to take different security steps to secure your mobile device than you would for a computer. Wi-Fi networks that don’t require a password have no security features. As a result, they’re great targets for cybercriminals. 

  • Install a security program on your phone, just like you should on your PC, which includes a firewall, antivirus software, and anti-spyware. 
  • 0000 and 1234 are simple to unlock codes to remember, but they’re also simple to guess. Instead, use a six-digit passcode created at random. 
  • Autocomplete is a function that guesses what you’re typing and fills in the missing words, phrases, or information. While useful, this application effectively gives hackers your email address, mailing address, phone number, and other personal information. 

Staying aware and having dependable software tools on hand are your best defences against losing data. Take some time to analyse your current security measures, and be safe rather than sorry.