How We Unknowingly Open Doors For Cyber-Troublemakers
Posted: Sep 29, 2016
Unless you're Canadian living at the countryside, it is a no-brainer tip that we should lock our doors and ensure we take precautionary steps to mitigate property theft. It would be also really unwise to write down your safety deposit box combination code in a notebook or speak out loud your ATM passcode at the coffee shop. Though we do not commit such dumb actions, we unknowingly do so on the internet.
How so? A recent article revealed, how anybody can easily view and possibly change a person's flight details when someone posts a picture of their boarding pass. Even if the name, booking reference number and flights details are hidden, elementary hackers can easily access your details with a simple & free bar-code reader app.
In fact, the barcode reveals more information than the boarding pass itself such as full name, flight number, booking reference, ticket number, frequent flyer number and you get the point. Note, that even experienced travelers commit this sin. This really made me review & question my social media/tech practices and unsurprisingly, I find myself opening doors for cyber-criminals without knowing it. Here is what I've learnt:
Do Not Reveal Too Much Information on Social Media via Live Updates
Like many, I get very excited before going on a holiday trip. Bubbling with emotions, I tend to share experiences on platforms like Instagram & Facebook. Yes, feel free to share amazing pictures and videos but never share it live.
Why? You might be hinting your friends or friend's friend (hopefully not to the general public!) that you're not home and there is no one to stop you from taking my valuables. To make things worse, never share details on how long you'll be gone like "Can't wait to begin my month-long backpacking trip!". In fact, criminals are using tech to track whereabouts of homeowners. Some are making it super-easy by posting "countdown days" ahead of their holiday plans. Stop opening doors for criminals by turning off location-sharing features, ensure your personal device is updated and stop broadcasting to people who aren't in your group of friends. Once back from your trip, feel free to share your experiences, but it isn't ideal to share it while you're far away from home.
Never Save Passwords on Your Internet BrowsersYour browser password manager probably isn't enough. If experts aren't sure if internet browsers today can securely store passwords, it would be ideal to believe them. Evan Johnson, a systems engineer at CloudFare who has studied password managers said storing passwords with the browser is a bad idea as security is always their secondary focus. A browser exists to make internet access seamless and super convenient across all devices but does not secure your passwords.
Solution? Choose to store your passwords with dedicated password managers such as LastPass, 1Password or Dashlane. More than storing passwords, they can help you create strong passwords as well. Though there is no such thing as a 100% secure password manager, these dedicated security sites are definitely much more secure than your Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge.
The Best Way to Secure Your Personal Devices
About a year ago, I encountered problems with my PC and sent it to a technician I could trust to fix the problem. About a day later he asks for my Windows login password when I was busy at work. It took hours for me to respond to him but when I responded he said "Thanks, but I managed to access your PC without your password". This really made me realize: my personal data has been so vulnerable all this time.
Reading up Microsoft's solution to this password loophole, I realized the best solution is to have a super-secure password which only you would own: biometric verification (but this might not work if you have an identical twin). Windows Hello in Windows 10 is definitely much safer as access to your device is allowed only with your biometrics or at least your PIN code. This is definitely a much more personal, more secure manner to get convenient access to your device and is a feature now widely available in present devices such as Surface Pro 4, Microsoft Lumia, and many other devices (non-Microsoft hardware too). Even if your PC (like mine) does not have any form of biometric sensor, securing your PC with a PIN code is secure enough.
If you think that a PIN code is no different than passwords, think again. Microsoft says that the PIN passcode you assign will be device specific and is tied to the hardware. This is great, as a hacker will be unable to access data remotely without both your PIN and physical device.
Here's what I have so far. Feel free to share if there are any other ways we can secure our data.
I am Jeremy and am currently residing in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. My interests includes Formula 1 (Team McLaren), Badminton, Church (Kingdomcity), Music (Vocalist & Electric Guitarist) & values good relationships. Jeremy is interested in topics per