If you think that you are a common man in the street and you’ve got nothing to hide, think twice. You never think about your rights unless anything wrong happens, whether a policeman stops your car or whether you walk out into the street to support the meeting against another law.
The third-party surveillance gets more and more aggressive as the IT-technologies evolve. Government eavesdropping is getting legal. The last three presidents have done a lot to move forward in this direction: Clinton pushed the Communications assistance for law enforcement act (CALEA) to conduct electronic surveillance, Bush gave way to mass domestic surveillance after 11/09 and Obama expanded the surveillance powers’ rights even more. And who knows what would be the new president’s contribution.
No matter what you do, you can never be 100% sure that your private data is absolutely safe. But still there are a few things that you can do for your own security’s sake. Remember, computer security is not rocket science, this is something that an ordinary man can do himself.
1. Your phone is the weakest link.
We use many electronic devices in our everyday life, but the weakest link in this chain is your cell phone as it is portable and easy to steal. We carry our phones everywhere and we usually keep the most sensitive personal data on them. That’s why you must pay more attention to your phone security than to anything else.
iPhones are regarded as the most secure devices today. Android has done a lot for its safety as well, but it still does not encrypt all the data on the fly. There are many tips to secure both devices, like fingerprint unlock, so read the instructions carefully before you start to actively use the new device.
If you are more worried about your home PC security, check out the article about general security tips for Windows users, as protecting such devices is another big question.
2. Pay attention to any app you install.
Whenever you install an app to your smartphone, it requires a number of permissions. It may need an access to your private data like contacts, your mailbox or camera. If you give such access to a fraud app it may become quite a big breach in your internet security.
Take care of any app you want to install. Thoroughly read through its description and reviews before you give it any access to your private data.
Recently there’s been a huge rag around Meitu, the anime photo app. Apart from your camera and your photo storage, it required an access to your location, your phone number and more. Why would it need such information just to give you anime makeover? Does it keep this info safe or does it hand it over to somebody else to use?
3. Use strong passwords.
Most people tend to use the same password across many devices and services. Moreover, they don’t even care to make this password strong enough. According to the latest surveys, the most popular passwords are “123456”, “password” and “qwerty”. This makes hackers’ life so much easier, doesn’t it?
So don’t play into villains’ hands and set up really strong passwords that consist of letters, numbers and other symbols. Use applications such as Lastpass, 1Password, Bitwarden and other password managers to help you generate really secure passwords and keep them all encrypted in one place. Check another article to learn why you should use a password manager.
4. Forget about using public wi-fi networks.
Public networks in cafes, restaurants and clubs are an ideal hunting spot for hackers and other villains who want your personal data as it’s the easiest place to get it. Still if you use it from time to time be very careful of any websites or apps that you look at in the internet.
5. Set up multi-factor authentication to all the services that really matter.
Especially to your mailbox, social media accounts and banks. The 2-step verification requires to put in the password and the additional numeric code that you receive via SMS or a special app.
Google Authenticator is considered to be more secure than SMS messages as the last ones can be intercepted. However, if you are not a government worker, SMS verification will work for you just fine.
There are many ways to enhance your internet security. But it is a double-edged sword when two or more people are involved into the process. However secure your phone or desktop may be, there is no guarantee that your vis-a-vis takes the same precautions. So your data may be exposed due to another person’s fault.
And what do you do to enhance your internet security? Leave your comments below and check our Beginner’s guide to computer security.