Cybersecurity Advent – Day 12

Today’s Cybersecurity tip is: lock your mobile device

Most of us carry (or have access to) everything in our phones: bank account, personal contacts, social media, and more. You’re basically walking around with a mobile computer, and should treat it with the same care and consideration as your laptop or desktop.

It’s likely you already have a passcode on your mobile device; most of them require you to set one up these days when you first get it. Unfortunately, it’s probably also only a four digit passcode. Did you know that with the right hardware, your four digit code can be brute force hacked in just four days?

The more digits in your passcode, the harder it is to crack. At the very least, just take your four digit passcode and double it. Turning 1234 into 12341234 makes a brute force crack go from about four days to almost six years! Of course … you use a better passcode than 1234 though, right?!

So right now, if you don’t have a passcode, set one up. If you do, but it’s less than eight digits, update it!

Now, before you jump to setting up your fingerprint or facial recognition … a word of warning. Keep in mind that all biometric data can be spoofed or forced (coersion or legally) somehow. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use it at all; I do. It certainly is more convenient to place my fingerprint on the scanner than it is to type in an eight digit passcode everytime I want to do something secure. However, you need to personally weigh the pros and cons of that convenience versus the potential drawbacks. If you do continue with using your biometrics (fingerprint and/or face), remember that every time you reboot your device it will require you to re-enter your passcode.

Well, today was short and sweet and now your device is years more secure than it was previously. See you tomorrow!