This means that we are always finding new ways to warn ourselves so that bad actors can investigate our data.
Remember when you shared your calendar with that trendy new app? Or when you posted photos on social networks? These actions can have consequences that weaken security for us and for the people we care about as well as the integrity of companies.
Vijay Balasubramaniyan, executive director of Pindrop, a security firm that develops technology for detecting fraudulent phone calls, said we should always remember that any piece of our identity we post online could eventually be used by fraudsters to hijack our online accounts.
“The digital identity, which includes all the images, videos and sounds, will fundamentally allow hackers to create a complete person who looks exactly like you, without you being in the picture,” he said.
So here are some of the most important guidelines – such as strengthening passwords and minimizing data shared by your phone’s camera – to keep you and your loved ones safe in the near future. I refer to these as the five technological commandments in the hope that you will remember them as if they were an unshakable rule.
You must not use weak passwords
Let’s talk about poor password hygiene. About 45 percent of us use weak passwords of at least eight characters, according to a survey by Security.org, a research firm. (Forty percent used “Covid” in their passwords last year.) Most also acknowledged reusing passwords on various sites.
This opens the door to many security issues. Weak passwords can be easily guessed by hackers trying to gain access to your account. And if you use the same password for multiple sites, such as your bank account, target shopping account, and Facebook, all you need is one of these sites to be hacked to make all these accounts vulnerable.
For most people, the simplest solution is a password manager, software that helps generate long and complex account passwords automatically. All passwords are stored in an accessible safe with a master password. Our favorite tool is 1Password, which costs RON 146.88 per year, but there are also free password managers, such as Bitwarden.
The other option is to write down the passwords on a piece of paper stored in a safe place. Make sure your passwords are long and complex, with a few letters, numbers, and special characters.
Use multifactor authentication
No matter how strong you create a password, hackers can still get it if they hack into a company’s servers that contain your information. That’s why security experts recommend multifactor authentication, also known as two-step verification.
Here’s how two-factor authentication generally worked: Say, for example, that you enter your username and password for your online bank account. This is Step 1. The bank then sends a text message to your phone with a temporary code that must be entered before the site allows you to log in. This is Step 2. In this way, you prove your identity by having access to the phone and that code.
Let us help you protect your digital life
A little maintenance of your devices and accounts can help keep you safe from unwanted attempts by external parties to access your data. Here’s a guide to some simple changes you can make to protect yourself and your information online.
- Have you ever considered yourself a password manager? You should.
- There are also many ways to remove the marks you leave on the internet.
You don’t have to overload
Many of us rely on our smartphones for our everyday cameras. But our smartphones collect a lot of data about us, and the camera software can automatically note our location when we take a photo. This is more often a potential safety risk than a benefit.
Let’s start with the positives. When you allow your camera to tag your location, photo management applications, such as Apple Photos and Google Photos, can automatically sort images into albums by location. This is useful when you go on vacation and want to remember where you were when you took a snapshot.
But when you’re not traveling, tagging your location on photos isn’t great. Suppose you just logged in with someone in a dating app and texted a photo of your dog. If the location feature was turned on when you took the photo, that person could analyze the data to see where you live.
Just to be safe, make sure the photo location feature is turned off by default:
- On the iPhone, open the Settings app, select Privacy, then Location services, and finally, Camera. Under “Allow access to the location,” choose “Never.”
- On Android, in the Camera app, tap the Settings icon that looks like a cogwheel. Scroll to “tag locations” and switch to the off position.
You can choose to temporarily turn on the location feature to document your vacation, but don’t forget to turn it off when your trip ends.
You shouldn’t share data about friends
This is a lesson we need to learn again and again: It’s generally not a good idea to share information with your friends when using websites and apps, especially with unknown brands.
For example, when you share your address book with an app, you can provide the name, phone numbers, home addresses, and email information of all contacts to that company. When you share your calendar with an app to invite others to join, share the information with others even if they choose not to accept the invitation.
There are nicer ways to share your calendar to find out if your friends are using a new service – such as asking them directly.
Don’t forget to stay skeptical
All security experts agreed on a general rule: do not trust anyone.
When you receive an email from someone requesting your personal information, do not click on any link and contact the sender to ask if the message is legitimate. Fraudsters can easily embed emails with malware and identify your bank,
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If in doubt, give up data sharing. Companies and banks have experimented with fraud detection technologies that listen to your voice to verify your identity. At some point, you can even interact with customer service representatives on video calls. The most sophisticated fraudsters could eventually use the media you post online to create a deepfake or a computer-generated video or audio clip that mimics you. While this may sound alarming, as deep fakes are not an immediate concern, a healthy dose of skepticism will help us survive the future.