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Simple security tips... and cake

Thursday 31st October 2013

If you’re anything like me, sometimes you tend to roll your eyes at the security advice given by the experts. They mean well, but sometimes we just need a few small changes to help us change our bad habits.

Here are a few very simple tips to keep you and your gadgets just a lot more secure. If you already do all of them, pat yourself on the back!

Don’t use your bank PIN for your tablet or phone

It wasn’t until someone told me this that I actually thought about it seriously. I am protective of my bank PIN at an ATM but I unlock my gadgets in front of everyone while travelling on the train or bus.

I thought it was just me, until I started looking around me on public transport and no one seemed to care about their gadgets' PINs. I can see everyone’s gadget PIN, and I then wonder – who has the same PIN for their bank card?

Use words or concepts to help with PINs    

It’s always so hard to come up with a PIN number. It shouldn’t be associated with anything obvious like your birthday, so that rules out anything you can easily remember, right?

A colleague and I were talking the other week and he gave some great advice on how to think up PIN: use a four-letter word to associate them to a PIN on the keypad. (You can thank Steve for this piece of advice!)

So, we all know are letters associated with the numbers on smart phones. Think of a four-letter word and use the numbers that correspond on the keypad: e.g. ‘CAKE’, which would make the PIN 2253. As easy as that! Mmm, cake.

(I do advise, just because I am known for this, not to say it out loud.)

If your gadget PIN is your bank PIN or it’s too obvious, like your date of birth, then you need to go change it now. Right now! I’ll be waiting here for when you return.

Have you done it yet? It’s OK, I can wait!

Done now? Good. Well done team!

OK, my last tip for today’s post is so simple that you’ll roll your eyes, but is a big problem.

Don’t share your passwords!

Simple. The person who seems like your best friend forever now could change in a few years' time. I stupidly gave my college BFF my bank PIN for what I seemed like an emergency situation at the time (it totally wasn’t). We had a falling out, and I immediately changed all my PINs on my bank cards.

The only advice I can give is trust no one with your passwords or PINs. It’s so easy now in the digital age to have people steal your identity and it’s really scary to see this happen to others. Don’t let it happen to you.

I’ll keep coming back with tips now and then, so don’t fret.