Four Steps to Staying Secure

Technology is literally a very fast-paced precinct of our daily lives .Most people agree that our technology is getting smarter,  faster,  better and easy-to-handle . From surveillance cameras to clothing ( yes clothing! See e.g Google Glasses ) today’s technology is watching us, helping us, and getting smarter because of us. But what about the specter of Security in all this ? The more technology is developed, the complexer security will be .Don’t panic !! we are here to help you by giving some tips and advices for you to stay secure .While the details of how to stay secure may change over time,there are fundamental things you can ALWAYS do to protect yourself.Regardless of what technology you are using or where you are using it, the following four key steps are recommended.

YOU

First keep in mind that technology itself won’t never be able to fully protect you .Attackers have learned that the easiest way to bypass even the most advanced security technology is by attacking YOU. There are several methods to trick you to receive personal sensitive information like credit card numbers , passwords .

Social Engineering

Is the term used to describe any trick used to take advantage of inattentive or trusting people. It is essentially the art of manipulating people to perform actions or divulge confidential information.A few known methods using social engineering are :

Scams that used to be delivered by phone or mail are now being done online known as Frauds. These usually are actions posting non-existent or falsely represented merchandize, Nigerian money offers promising large sums of cash, financial scams targeting consumers with poor credit in hopes of receiving credit cards or loans, phony sweepstakes offers asking for payment for a prize that doesn’t exist: all can snag the unwary or vulnerable visitor.

The latest in a new generation of cyber-attacks is CEO fraud which involves impersonation of senior company officials, using social engineering to coerce employees to transfer company money under the auspice of a legitimate business purpose.

Phishing 

A cyber threat which makes an attempt to gain sensitive information like passwords, usernames and other details for malicious reasons. It is basically an email fraud where the perpetrator sends a legitimate looking email and attempts to gain personal information .

Ultimately, the greatest defense against attackers is you. Be suspicious. By using common sense, you can spot and stop most attacks.Remain as anonymous as possible, which means keep all private information private; do not give out your real full name, age, home address, phone number, social security number, passwords, names of family members, or credit cards unless required for a legitimate business transaction. And learn how it’s going to be used, and how it will be protected, before you share it.

Other things you can do to protect your online privacy, as Edward Snowden suggests,  are :

  1. Browsing Anonymously with Tor :  your traffic will be bounced all across the globe, covering your physical location and identity (to a point). A nice side effect is Tor comes with a JavaScript blocker, which disables ads.
  2. Everybody should be running adblock software, if only from a safety perspective,” Snowden said.
  3. You should encrypt your hard disk, so that if your computer is stolen the information isn’t obtainable to an adversary — pictures, where you live, where you work, where your kids are, where you go to school.

Passwords

Next step to protecting yourself involves using a strong, unique password for each of your devices and online accounts.STRONG AND UNIQUE .A strong password means using a mix of different types of characters to make the password harder to crack (including Numbers, Symbols, Capital Letters, and Lower-Case Letters) .Attention ! Stay away from obvious dictionary words and combinations of dictionary words. Any word on its own is bad and can be easily guessed by hackers or by their automated programs.Instead of a single word, use a series of words that is easy to remember (passphrase)

A unique password means using a different password for each device and online account. Of course it’s not easy to remember all those different passwords . That is why we recommend you use a password manager ! This tool helps you securely manage all your passwords in one location and means you don’t have to remember multiple, complicated passwords. You can centralize all your passwords from your email accounts, blogs, social networking sites, online banks, and so on .. and the best part ? It stores them in an encrypted format.So if it gets compromised the passwords won’t be readable (plain text).

Here’s a popular one that’s also free: KeePassX

Passwords alone are no longer enough to protect accounts.The other important thing someone can do is to enable the TWO- Step-Verification(also known as 2FA)!

Two-step verification is a method of computer access control in which a user is only granted access after successfully presenting several separate pieces of evidence to an authentication mechanism – typically at least two of the following categories: knowledge (something they know), possession (something they have), and inherence (something they are). Enable this option on every account you can, including your password manager, if possible.

Updating 

Make sure your computers, mobile devices, apps, and anything else connected to the Internet are running the latest software versions. Updates are necessary to fix any problems with a software program or hardware device that were not detected before the product was released to the public.Updates also patch security holes, if you don’t update your personal information may be compromised.By installing these updates, you make it much harder for someone to hack you. To stay current, simply enable automatic updating whenever possible. This rule applies to almost any technology connected to a network.

Backups

Data is the most important aspect of your computer. The operating system can be reinstalled and so can applications, but it may be difficult or impossible to recreate your original data.It is essential that you always back up your important information and have a plan for recovering from a system failure. An attacker could crash a computer’s operating system or data may be corrupted or wiped out by a hardware problem. You should back up your personal or critical work data on a regular basis. Attackers can also  prevent you from accessing your personal files, photos, and other information stored on the hacked system. >Most operating systems and mobile devices support automatic backups. In addition, we recommend you store your backups in either the Cloud or offline to protect them against cyber attackers.

 

We should not live lives as if we are electronically naked.

 

That’s all folks !

See you on the next article !

 

Sources :

https://ist.mit.edu/security/social_engineering

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multi-factor_authentication

https://ist.mit.edu/security/backup

http://bigthink.com/ideafeed/snowden-explains-why-its-super-easy-to-protect-our-privacy-online

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/types-cyber-attack-threats-deepak-kumar-d3pak-?trk=hp-feed-article-title-like#comments

Programming and Tech enthousiast ! Studying Computer Engineering and interested in Cybersecurity && Machine Learning .Enjoys traveling and reading .

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