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  7 Reasons Your Data Is Probably Not SafeOnline

  Yo mama’s so old, her resume’s on a floppydisk…

  I grew up on computers. Way beforesmartphones put the internet in the hands ofevery man, woman, and child in modern society, Isat in my room, staring at a black screen with c://in a white font. There was no graphical userinterface (GUI) back then, so there were no mice,track pads, or touch screens; you had to type everything. The word-processing programs (Perfect was the best, by a large margin) changed the pixelated screen from black to blue.

  Technology has vastly improved since those days.

  I’m one of a shrinking minority of people who understand that your desktop, with all its shiny icons,is not the foundation of your computer. It’s a subfolder within a subfolder within a subfolder atbest. Your computer has a structure, and this structure applies also to any network and even theinternet itself. This basic understanding gets me into as much trouble as it resolves, but knowledge ispower, so allow me to impart a little wisdom to you as to why your data is not safe online.


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  1. Your Governments Are Spying on You

  NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden leaked a lot of technical manuals and other documentation tothe media. In doing so, he gave us proof that our government is monitoring everyone butthemselves. It’s crazy to think we’re the only ones, though. Governments on all habitablecontinents have been caught snooping on their citizens. No matter where you are, there’s a reasonsome government agency would want to monitor you.

  No matter how safe 沈阳治癫痫的专科医院you are with your personal data, it’s not safe from government snooping.Some of the Anonymous hackers involved in data breaches of Stratford, HB Gary Federal, Sony, andPayPal used temporary laptops (similar to a drug dealer’s burner phone) and kept all info (includingthe operating system) on USB drives, and they still got caught. If these tech experts were tracked,even with all of their advanced techniques for evasion, then you don’t stand a chance.

  We are living in the future, and our actions are being judged by anyone with the money to accessand analyze it. Keeping your head down will temporarily avoid any trouble, but your only real chancefor long-term change is joining the various protests against government monitoring, such asFebruary’s International Day of Privacy, held annually by the Computer Chaos Club (Europe’soldest and largest hacker organization).

  2. If You’re Not Hacked, Your Company Will Be

  Let’s say you don’t have any social media accounts, and you never shop online. You likely have anemail address, though. You also have an employer and a financial institution, and you shopsomewhere. All of these businesses store your information. I don’t even have to hack you to knoweverything about you; I just have to hack Sony, Target, Facebook, Hotmail, or some other companyyou do business with.

  It happens all the time. If you use the same username and password for everything, you’re muchmore at risk of people using your stolen info to further harm you. Mitigate this risk as much aspossible by only working with and for honest companies you trust. This way you’ll be less likely tobe involved in a beef that has nothing to do with you. Anonymous has issued several statementsexplaining how companies are targeted not because they’re rich, but because they’re corrupt.

  3. Your Digital Life Will Outlive You

  What 癫痫医院哪家好you post online will last longer than you; you’re just some meat puppet with a shelf life, butyour Twitter account is part of a publicly-owned company. Every app or game you download on yourphone wants your personal info and they’ll incentivize you giving it to them with extra features,easier connectivity, and bonus in-game items. Every time you use your Facebook, Twitter,Foursquare, LinkedIn, Disquss, or other social-media accounts to log in to an app, you’re givingthem access to your personal information, and they will use and sell this information as they see fit.Did you ever notice many apps and games don’t tell you they’re not sharing your information?That’s because they are.

  With your information already out there and lasting so long, you should be the one in control of howyou’re remembered. At this point, you’re better off making your voice heard publicly – at leastyou’ll control your own narrative. Be proud of who you are, and keep your social media accountsupdated with how you feel and what you think. If they’re monitoring us, the least we can do is givethem our honest opinions. Don’t ever be afraid of voicing your opinion – how those opinions areaccepted by others is their problem. It might be wise, however, to take just a minute think about howyou will feel if that opinion or photo you just posted were to be looked at ten years from now by aprospective employer.

  4. Everyday Threats Are Everywhere

  Losing your phone is like losing your keys, wallet, and everything else in your life. You don’t realizehow much personal information is on your phone; it could be devastating if someone stole or foundit. Luckily, there are measures you can take to mitigate this risk. Tiffany Rad, a Senior SecurityResearcher at Kapersky Labs offers this advice:

  “A feature that is useful for consumers is to have is a remote “kill” option should the phone belost or s西藏权威癫痫专科医院tolen. There are free apps available that will not only try to locate the phone by pin-pointingthe location of the last cell tower to which it connected, but if it is determined that the phone cannotbe retrieved, you can remotely erase/wipe the phone.”

  Losing physical possession of your device is hardly the only threat, however. Data-retrieval devicescan be anywhere; simply walking down the street exposes your phone to everyone with a wirelesssignal within 500 feet. Anytime you swipe your credit or debit card, the machine could’ve beencompromised (and you’d never know). ATMs are especially vulnerable because the manuals are soeasy to obtain online, and laws have made prosecuting ATM theft difficult. No matter what you do,there is a risk associated with it. Keep yourself informed about the many data theft possibilities byGoogling the specifics for your particular phone and financial services, as the subject is much toodetailed and complicated to go too far into here.

  5. We Want You

  You may think you’re not worth watching, but everyone is worth watching. When you apply for ajob, potential employers stalk you. When you meet someone new, they stalk you. Some people youhaven’t even met will stalk you to see if you’re worth getting to know. Scorned exes, rivals, friends,and family are all stalking you. People may not talk about it, but everyone snoops. Basic passwordprotection and social media privacy settings can mitigate this risk.

  6. Hacking Is Easy to Hackers

  The hard part of hacking isn’t breaking into a system. With a few attempts (and, in the worst case, abrute-force attack), you can get into anyone’s network or computer. The hard part is knowing whatto look for and where to look once you’re in there. The basics of computer structure explained atthe beginning of this piece are easily applied, however, and many people be河南省伊川县人民医院癫痫科怎么样sides me know this…andI just blabbed it to everyone whose reading this. Knowledge was passed on in art, song, andliterature well before the internet was invented, so even removing hacking info from search engineswon’t delete it from human memory.

  There are efforts to reframe how you think about computers (with the most basic one being to trainusers into thinking their home screen is the root folder) so fewer people grasp computer hackingconcepts, but the knowledge will always be easily available to those who know where to look. Thereare no good or bad people, just good or bad actions, and people hack for good and bad reasons.Many times, it’s to satiate curiosity, practice, or just for the lulz. The point is, hacking is like playingthe guitar; it is easy…it just takes 10,000 hours of practice.

  7. Social Hacking Is Easy

  Even if you’re technically cautious, you may not realize how obvious your social cues are. Socialhacking is how most cyber-attacks are executed, not technical programming. Although we all like tofeel unique, convincing people to give up their personal data is simple. Data and forensics consultantSteven Burgess explains how social hacking may be responsible for Target’s recent data breach.

  “A careless Target worker, possibly in the IT department, was fooled by a link in an official-lookingemail – ostensibly from his or her bank, or from a manager or superior in the company–or by visitingan alluring website–to reveal important authorization credentials, which were passed on to thehacker,” Burgess proposes.

  Don’t let this article dissuade you from taking every possible precaution, such as locking andpassword-protecting your devices, using two-step authorization, encrypting personal data, and usinganonymizing services such as TOR and OTR chat. Following these steps will help ensure your privatechats remain private.


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