I’m worried that I’m being spied on, what can I do to improve my security?

These days spying isn’t limited to secret government agencies, the general public can spy on each other by simply installing an app for a few euro. If you think you are being spied on here are some steps that can help to improve your security and put your mind at ease.

Passwords and Passcodes

You need to change all your passwords/passcodes on all your devices and websites you login to, but before doing that you need to make sure that no one is spying on you. If you change your passwords/passcodes first then it will likely be seen what they have been changed to. Install anti-virus and anti-spyware (always update these products) on your devices and run scans to make sure you aren’t being spied on. If you are being spied on, make sure the scanner removes the software or app.

When you are satisfied your devices are spyware free do the following:

  • Make a list of all your devices that require passwords: PC, laptop, phone, tablet, WiFI router, etc.
  • Change passwords on all those devices. Don’t use the same password on all devices. It’s ok to use a variation of one. (sell below for password suggestion)
  • Reset your WiFi password AND your router password. The WiFi password is what you use to connect your phone/computer to your WiFi. Your router password is the login to your internet management control panel.The control panel can usually be found at an address like http://192.168.1.1. The Username & Password to login to this is normally printed on the under of your router/WiFi box (or with the documentation from your provider). Enter these and login and then change both passwords to a more complex one. You could also consider hiding your SSID. [If you are having trouble with changing your WiFi details your service provider will help you do it.]

 

Online security

  • Just like with your devices, change all your passwords and websites you use, particularly social media and email. Add your mobile/cell number for added protection from your social media profile/email being stolen.
  • If you can, enable two factor login authentication. (this means using your phone as added security)
  • On social media websites make sure you have privacy settings on (this can be who can see your profile page to who can see what you post). Pay attention to Google alerts about someone signing into your account from a different location to normal. Ensure only you have access to any Cloud (Dropbox, Drive, etc.) services you use.
  • We would recommend not entering your password in a website on a computer that isn’t yours, no matter how much you trust that person, because you don’t know how secure their computer is.
  • Don’t enter passwords on WiFi/networks you don’t trust unless the site is secured by HTTPS (your browser will have some sort of lock or visual pointer that the website is secure). Use a VPN (virtual private network) if you travel a lot.
  • Don’t have WiFi on unless you need to be connected to it.
  • Don’t enter login details through a link you clicked within an email – ‘There is a problem with your account. Please click here to login to update your details’. This is a very common and standard phishing scam to steal your login. Physically type in the address, e.g www.myrealbankaddress.com to your browser and login; if something really needs updating there will be a message in your account.

 

Password suggestions

  • Make passwords at least 12 characters long.
  • Change them to something that only you will know BUT see next point!
  • Don’t use an obvious word/number such as a family member’s birthday, your dog’s name or digits from your phone number.
  • A Passphrase is a good way to remember a long password. Example: iliketoeatburritosintherain is a phrase that helps you remember it more easily, but you must make it more secure by doing things like substituting numbers for letters (E>3, o>0, i>1, B>8 etc.) so: iliketoeatburritosintherain > 1l1k3t03@tburr1t0s1nth3r@1n
  • Variations of this would could be changing the numbers at the end: 1l1k3t03@tburr1t0s1nth3r@1n8251 Change your passwords 2-3 times a year.
  • Don’t write them on a Post-It!
  • Finally, with your new passwords, do not have websites remember your login.
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