These security experts tell us what THEY do to keep themselves safe from hackers and malware

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When your job is to keep safe hundreds of millions of users worldwide, 24 hours a day, from the countless numbers of malware, ransomware, virus and other nasties that prowl on the web, then you are likely to know a thing or two about online security.

We asked five security experts at Bitdefender what their most important security hacks or hygiene processes and most importantly why. Some of these answers left us flabbergasted by their simplicity.

Liviu Arsene – Global Cybersecurity Researcher

"Some of the top security hygiene processes usually revolve around having multi-factor authentication for all accounts that support it, constantly making backups of critical data and even employing encryption if applicable, making sure router settings don’t compromise household IoTs or even the entire network, and even segregating the internal network to minimize any potential fallout if the network or a network device is potentially compromised.  Of course, patching all software and firmware for all devices and operating systems as soon as updates become available is also a religiously enforced, so is installing a security solution on all your devices."

Bogdan Botezatu – Director of Threat Research & Reporting

"Keeping an inventory of all internet connected hardware and software should be a top priority, especially if you have a large number of IoTs and traditional internet-connected devices such as laptops, tablets, smartphones, and even a network attached storage or desktops. Consistently backing up data either on an offline device or an undiscoverable/network segregated NAS is also critical as it can help deal with potential data corruption malware. Network and gateway security is also vital, as router vulnerabilities or misconfigurations can have disastrous consequences. MFA (multi-factor authentication) coupled with strong passwords should also be a top security priority, the same as deploying encryption on laptops and smartphones that leave home network confinement."

Filip Truta – Information Security Analyst

"Setting up unique passwords for each account may be considered daunting, but it should be a top priority. Data leaks and phishing attempts that result in exposed authentication credentials are often used to access other accounts that may share the same password. People notoriously choose convenience over security and often share the same password across different accounts, both personal and work-related. 2FA (two-factor authentication) should be enforced as an extra security layer, preventing unauthorized access to accounts. Constantly updating all installed software and applications on all your devices is mandatory. Unpatched vulnerabilities are often exploited by threat actors to deploy malware or remotely control vulnerable devices. Using a security solution that’s capable of protecting all your devices, regardless of operating system, should also be at the top of your priority list. Educating yourself to not fall prey to social engineering scams should also rank high on your list. Cybercriminals will always try to circumvent security mechanisms by making you do their work. Don’t take everything you read at face value, fact-check everything from multiple sources, and always exercise caution when your personal or critical data becomes a topic of conversation."

Catalin Cosoi – Chief Security Strategist

"What everyone should start with in terms of security is understand that even seemingly unimportant information about themselves or their devices can be used by threat actors to advance their attacks. For example, having an outdated browser or operating system or simply volunteering information about your systems a social engineering attack, is an opportunity for threat actors to compromise the device. Strong and unique passwords, multi-factor authentication, and even restricting use from installing or uninstalling applications on devices need to be security best practices that everyone should adhere to. With privacy becoming an important part of our online hygiene, especially when being tracked by ads or even being snooped upon by hackers through your laptop’s camera, having a security solution installed that can protect you from these threats is more than recommended."

Alexandru Balan – Principal Security Researcher

"Nothing endangers your security and privacy like vulnerable internet-connected devices. May it be a smart light bulb or a laptop that runs unpatched applications or operating system, hackers will always use any vulnerability to their advantage. It’s important that before you add a new device to your network, you properly research the vendor, how often security patches and updates are released, and make sure that you can manage its security settings. Changing default passwords for devices, closing off port forwarding in routers, and even disabling potentially vulnerable protocols in routers, such as UPnP (Universal Plug and Play), should be part of everyone’s security checklist. Creating separate networks for IoTs and critical devices (such as laptops, smartphones, and desktops) can prevent hackers from moving laterally across the network after potentially compromising a smart device, in order to affect everything other device. Network segmentation may seem complicated, but can even be applied to guests. Keeping guests’ devices away from your main Wi-Fi network by creating two separate ones, and minimize the chances of having a compromised rogue device from potentially causing havoc. Having a security solution installed on device or capable of protecting IoTs from online attackers is more than recommended if you want to keep your data secure and privacy private."

  • With a worldwide network of 500 million machines, Bitdefender has the largest security delivery infrastructure on the globe. Performing 11 billion security queries per day, Bitdefender detects, anticipates and takes action to neutralize even the newest dangers anywhere in the world in as little as 3 seconds.