Some of the things we consider to be “hacking” are nothing more than clever manipulations of our personal information. This is also known as “social engineering”. Both terms are synonymous.
In order to combat these threats on our personalities and identity, we need to stay informed, and educate ourselves on the methods necessary to fend off an attack or prevent one in the first place.A good place to start is the Identity Theft Resource Center. http://www.idtheftcenter.org/
The IDTC has some reporting methods and training to help you protect yourselves from cyber threats. But it’s not enough.
The bottom line is, don’t let your guard down. Don’t tell people things they simply don’t need to know, even if they’re your friends. Your friends can be sources of information, tools to the attacker.
When you use websites and set your security information, don’t use the same security questions over and over. Try to switch it up between sites. And don’t necessarily make the answers accurate. Leaving out a letter, or adding a letter to the maiden name of your mother for example, is a good way to prevent a social engineer from hacking into your email or online banking.
Ultimately the less people know about you, the harder it is for hackers and anyone in general to take advantage of you. Remember the old phrase? “Loose lips sink ships”. The military has entire sections dedicated to preserving information that could threaten our country and military’s security. The military and DoD refers to this as OPSEC or “operational security”.
This is taken from stuff.co.nz:
SECURITY DOS AND DON’TS
?Do use strong passwords.
?Don’t use the same password for everything.
?Do make multiple back-ups of precious files.
?Don’t use the same email address for everything.
?Don’t use the one social service to log into everything.
?Don’t choose easy-to-answer security questions.
?Do enable two-factor authentication.
PC / Computer
Don’t be insulted. No one’s assuming you’re ignorant or stupid, but if people weren’t getting hacked, this information wouldn’t even be necessary.
We all have vulnerabilities. These tips will help raise the drawbridge of information we let down too easily.
Sometimes even that isn’t enough.
Software we look for to protect ourselves ends up being our greatest adversary. The first step in protecting yourself against malware and trojans is pre-screening everything you download. For starters, using download.com’s (owned by CNET) vast library helps. They scan everything before you download it.
Having some personal security helps too.
We typically don’t take too many steps to secure our personal information on our home network. Maybe because we don’t think a threat could come from home.
So here’s a few tips to help with that.
Most of the time, a fiber (ethernet) network is less of a security threat than wireless. That is, if the intruder is trying to hack us from home. But what if the threat is coming from somewhere else? If we’re not running an intranet (network not connected to the rest of the world wide web) then we’re running a network connected to the internet. If we’re connected to the internet then we are at risk at all times, from the inside, and the outside.
The Outside (internet)
Our greatest internal threats are no match for the infinite potential for threats on the internet. We will never keep them all out, which is why there’s a massive list of tools to find and remove threats that make it to our systems.
For starters, try Spybot S&D
Spybot looks for, well, spybots! And other stuff too.
Spybot is a free program that helps you find and prevent infections of spyware, malware, trojans, search engines, adware and more. The fact that it’s free is an epic factor in deciding whether or not to own this program.
Spybot can remove most infections when you “Run as Administrator” but in some cases, it needs you to reboot. Spybot will then prevent Windows from loading while it scans.
You can also immunize your system from hundreds of thousands of threats. Not to mention apply a host file patch that protects you from even connecting to websites that could threaten you.
After installing or uninstalling any software, a tremendous amount of crap is left behind. Hense (Crap Cleaner). But, it does much more than that. CCleaner will scan for registry garbage, empty folders, and almost any temporary files your PC stores. CCleaner will even wipe your blank space on your hard drive, a place where some of the most devious data can hide.
You might want some preventative software too. A few to consider:
- COMODO Internet Security Plus
- Panda Cloud
I would NOT recommend:
Norton would be excellent, if it wasn’t such a resource hog. And McAfee misses more than it catches.
Some additional “layered” protection doesn’t hurt. Malwarebytes has some decent protection for free. There’s plenty of others too, and a few good ones for free. I would recommend looking up recent reviews for anything you’re considering, so you don’t end up downloading garbage or bloatware.
Protecting yourself should include masking some of your personal information. Hiding your IP address is important, if you can. Tor Browser can help with that.
Tor Browser allows you to mask your IP by use of a proxy server. There are servers all over the world that allow you to connect at no cost and hide your own IP and thus your true location. This also means it will be much harder to connect to you directly. The upside, better chance of staying secure. Downside, everything’s a little slower when going through a proxy, but in the end, it might be worth it.
The Inside(local network)
Don’t forget to secure your router. A wireless router typically has a control panel, that you can access with a local IP address. You can look up these IP addresses by going to http://portforward.com/ and selecting your router from the list. You aren’t trying to set up port fowarding, but it helps in case you can’t locate your router’s manual for the correct IP.
You can look up the default login info from the internet, which is why it’s important to secure it. If you don’t know the info, look it up yourself.
There are two different things you need to do. First, set a Wifi password and change your SSID. Some of the more advanced security allow you to use a passphrase instead of a bunch of random jargon to secure your system. Both are sufficiently secure. The second thing you need to do is change your router’s administrator password, and username if you get the chance. Write it down, stick it to the bottom of your router using some scotch tape.
With all of that, you still can be vulnerable. Stay vigilant.