In a recent interview with Computer World, infamous hacker Kevin Mitnick shared his advice on how to protect data. Most of it is surprisingly simple tips on how to avoid so-called ‘social engineering’. It’s a clear warning to take security seriously…

Be smarter with your smartphone

People can be lazy when it comes to security. Simple passwords, often used on numerous devices and websites (we’re looking at you Mark Zuckerberg), can be a hacker’s dream.

One such example is smartphone passcodes. As noted by Mitnick, seeing people enter simple 4-pin codes into their phones is often a clear sign of laziness that hinders proper security. He recommends using lengthier 6-pin codes or even more complicated login features. If a hacker was to gain access to your phone, it’s likely they’ll then have access to nearly all of your online accounts without the need for further passwords.

USBs certainly aren’t as safe as we think

Mitnick also comments on how simple it is for a USB thumbdrive to take over a computer. Hackers can program USB drives to make computers ‘think’ they’re keyboards, giving typing access and potentially key logs to hackers in control of the USB. It essentially means they can take over your computer to gain access and steal private data. It gives you something to think twice about when someone gives you a USB to insert into your computer at work or at home.

Public WiFi may be pirate WiFi

If you’re using your own device or company devices in public places, it’s advisable you avoid public WiFi. According to Mitnick hackers access routers, kick everyone off, and then ask them to reconnect using their own device acting as public WiFi. Once the devices are connected they can easily be monitored and milked for private data. Best stay safe and use your own hotspot.

Keeping the workplace more secure

We’ve learned how to be safer as an individual, but what about business owners who need to make sure all of their employees are acting responsibly with company devices? One method is training and educating. Teach your employees about the risks out there and make it a part of company best practice to use all company devices in such a manner. Additionally employee computer monitoring software, such as KnowIT can be installed on company devices (including smartphones and tablets). The application allows you to effectively monitor the websites and apps your employees are using, as well as the files they’re accessing and all their inbound and outbound communications. You’re even able to record key logs and screencaps if the need arises…

To learn more about KnowIT click here.