5 Steps to Secure Your Devices & Data

Step 1: Run software updates

Hackers can tell when your phone or computer is not running the latest version. Make sure you enable auto-update on your devices and apps to get security patches automatically.

Step 2: Longer passwords are stronger

Passwords are like vacations–the longer the better! Create a passphrase by using 3 or 4 unrelated words, such as Funny-drink-apple-White. You can also use a password manager, such as LastPass, to remember passwords for you.

How long will it take to hack your password?

A hacker that steals a password file can use an app to crack your password. This is roughly how long it will take based on the length of your password:

8 characters ……. 9 minutes
10 characters ….. 25 days
12 characters ….. 260 years

Step 3: Encrypt your laptop

To minimize the impact of a lost or stolen computer or phone, turn on encryption and keep an extra copy of your data. Windows, Apple, and Android devices come with whole device encryption and backup functions.  ITS is currently encrypting College-owned laptops.

Step 4:  Spot a phishing scam before it gets you

Your email account is valuable because it can often be used to reset passwords for other accounts. Be skeptical of emails that threaten to delete your data or close your account. Remember, ITS will never ask for your password via email.

Step 5: Embrace Macalester’s 2-factor authentication requirement

It’s easier than you think for someone to steal your password, 2-factor authentication can help keep cybercriminals out, even if they have your password. Using a 2nd factor to authenticate to your Google and 1600grand account is a security requirement for all staff, faculty and students. You’ll securely log into your Google & 1600grand accounts with 2 things: 1) something you know (your password) and 2) something you have (your phone).