Online Security

Protecting your Privacy from Hackers and Spies

Advice that can Help You to Protect Yourself against Hackers and Government Surveillance

privacy

Privacy and Security

Why You Should Care About Online Privacy and Security

Also see our Blog on Internet Privacy Tips
This a difficult topic, And you may think a bit of paranoia is kicking in.
Or you may not want to believe all of what we listed below happens.
But it does!
And it happens more than you think
Awareness is the first step in protecting yourself

Data breaches and privacy violations are happening every day. From Edward Snowden: the whistleblower behind the NSA surveillance revelations that the American government tracks its citizens. To Cambridge Analytica gained access to private information on more than 50 million Facebook users to allegedly influence the 2016 US presidential election

Our information is not always being used in the most ethical, transparent or even legal ways. It appears that every aspect of our private lives can be dissected and scrutinized by any one that mean to do us harm. And it is clear that our personal information is out there

Hackers Want Your Info Too

The most obvious issue that comes to mind when thinking about privacy violations is Hackers and other criminal activity. There are hackers out there who will stop at nothing to try to steal your personal information and break into your private accounts.

Data breaches

One of the most famous hacks: Equifax Breach's that may have leaked millions of people’s data, including Social Security numbers
Was just one of many examples where hackers gained access to a large database that could be used for identity theft. These things happen more often than you realize

Webcams

Do you have a Web Camera?
Do you cover the webcam on your computer when you’re not using it? Maybe you should. The camera on your laptop or computer monitor can be hacked to give strangers access to what’s going on inside your house. This is not just TV magic, it can really happen

Browsing the Web and Emails

When you’re surfing the Web, it’s way too easy for people to get data or info about you. Beyond Social Media Websites and Shopping behavior, just browsing the Internet and checking your email can get you into trouble. Innocent looking emails might send you to fraudulent banking or other websites that try to capture your login details, a process called Phishing. Other Sites may track your online behavior by placing cookies in your browser

Social Engineering

Most of the time it is just small bits of info or data that hackers are after. Your date of birth, along with your email or mailing address could provide a key that a criminal can use to reset your account passwords or gain access to important account information. One example: Back in 2012, Hackers compromised a "Wired" Staff Writer Mat Honan’s digital accounts and deleted all of his computer files just by having critical bits of information about him.

Security Experts repeatedly us warn that with more of us connecting additional devices to the Internet (Devices such as thermostats, home security systems, Amazon Echo or Google Home) It is exposing even more of our personal data to potential hacking.

Beyond the Illegal Activities of Hacking

There are hundreds of ways people gain legitimate access to your info or data, often with your explicit consent. It’s worth considering how often your activities are being monitored and what kinds of information you willingly provide to corporations and the government

Below are a few examples of this

DNA records

Companies like Ancestry.com have started offering genetic mapping and profiling services: You just mail in a swab and in return the company sends you the results and stores your DNA records in their databases. But have you ever considered how this data might be used in the future? As we recently saw with the Apprehension of the Golden State Killer used a genetic database at the genealogy service of Ysearch.org. Today it might be solving a murder, but in the future, who knows? Your genetic profile could also be used to determine health coverage or other purposes you did not want or expect

What About Ride Sharing

Seems safe enough right? Go ahead and call a Lyft or Uber. You will be giving that company data on where you live, who else lives there, and your entertainment habits.
Uber even got caught tracking their customers after they dropped them off

Pokémon Go and Other Mobile Games

But it’s Just a Game? - Right?
By using GPS data to provide location-based entertainment, these most addictive mobile app's also keeps a close eye on where you and or your kids are throughout the day, hmmm

Amazon and other Retail Apps

If you’re like most of the world, you use Amazon and eBay for much of your online purchases and household services. You might app's from Starbucks or Target on your phone to order in advance or get discounts. And each time you buy online from major retailers or use their apps, you’re giving them rich data. For use, but where and what for?

Cell Phones

Just about every mobile device has a GPS chip that locates the phone even when it’s turned off. This can allow emergency services to locate you when you need help
The question is, who else has access to that data?

Video Surveillance and Closed Circuit Television (CCTV)

With ATMs to ‘eye in the sky’ cameras at department stores and it seems everywhere cameras are always watching you.
Red light cameras and cameras on toll roads snap your car’s license plate to send you violation notices or fee invoices. Any time you leave your home in most urban centers in the US and Europe (and in major cities across the world), someone is always watching and what you’re doing

Today it seems there are thousands of different ways your privacy can be compromised
When you think about it seems to be to overwhelming and nothing we can do to help solve the problem?

Don’t give up yet!
While some things are out of your control, there are still things you can do to protect your information.

A Few Steps to Protect Your Privacy Online

If you’re online your information is out there

You might not care if companies know your purchase history or where you go on the weekends. And you might not worry about the government tracking you because you think you have nothing to hide. What’s more, there are benefits to sharing our data to take advantage of everything our modern society enables us to do. It’s nice to be able to use Google Maps to find a new restaurant or chat with your friends on Facebook.

So unless you want an "Off The Grid" lifestyle
Modern convenience's requires surrendering a certain amount of your privacy.

But there are some ways you can minimize the impact of potential privacy violations and prevent people from gaining access to your information and data

Provide only the Bare Minimum of Information

To many times companies will ask for personal information that they don’t need. Challenge Anyone who asks for your Social Security number.
Don’t put your address on your resume or job search websites. If you have a home business, consider getting a P. O. Box to avoid giving out your personal address

Protect your Email Account

It seems that everyone wants your email, this can also be a ticket to spam as well as a possible gateway for phishing or hackers to access your account. If you find yourself giving out your email often, consider creating a disposable email address using a free Gmail or Yahoo account. Then, whenever you enter a sweepstakes or join a mailing list, enter that address rather than your personal one. You can still receive messages at that address if you want by forwarding it to your real address and filtering it into a separate folder

Avoid Giving out Information to Unknown Parties

Don’t play games on Facebook that require you to connect your profile. Use privacy settings to lock down your social media profiles so only your friends can see what you’re posting

Cover your Webcam

For more info and ideas, check out this Mashable article

Check your Credit Report

In the US, you can order a report for free once a year through each credit reporting agency or by going to AnnualCreditReport.com

Passwords

Use a different password for different websites
If a Website gets hacked that you happen to use don’t hand the hacker the keys to all of your other accounts
People also tell you to change passwords regularly.
If you have a good one Don’t unless there’s a good reason, such as responding to a data breach
Switching often and you’ll probably end up using weak options.
Never give out a password to anyone over the phone or email You can also try the Norton Identity Safe Password Generator for a new and "safe" password

What About Public Wi-Fi

It’s far too easy for hackers to gain access to your login data.
If you frequently use the Wi-Fi in coffee shops or restaurants, consider investing in an inexpensive VPN solution

Enable two-factor authentication (2FA) everywhere

Most major websites including blogging platforms, banks, and even online games offer 2FA protection, which is a second step of authentication that’s difficult for a hacker to replicate. Often, 2FA will require you to enter a code texted to your mobile device or sent via a third-party app

Using a passcode on that Cell Phone?

It may be annoying to always have to enter your passcode, but it will keep people from gaining access to your personal data, contacts, social media accounts, and email if you get separated from your device even for a few minutes

This is just the tip of the iceberg, but it’s a great way to get started
For an even more comperhensive list see: 66 privacy tips from Consumer Reports

And please remember that at RSH Web Services we do value your privacy. We will not sell your personal information to other companies like other big named hosting companies do, and we work to keep you aware of different ways your privacy might be violated


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