I was contacted by Sam Bowling, an Infrastructure Engineer at SingleHop, a company which specializes in cloud computing and hosted IT infrastructure. In light of the recent Heartbleed bug, and to kick off Choose Privacy Week from May 1-7 (it took me some time to get this posted!), the company is running an initiative to educate people on the importance of online safety and privacy concerns.
Sam has requested that I post his article to educate my readers and I have obliged him.
The internet is an amazing entity. It allows you and me to communicate in ways that are both instant and creative. However, this flurry of excitement can be cut short with identity theft or other threats to your financial and emotional well-being. Be on the lookout for the following vulnerable hotspots when keeping a record of online activity.
One of the most common areas of information breach is the result of a password that isn’t strong enough or used too extensively. The best way to organize password information for all your accounts is to keep it localized on the desktop or in a file. Make sure to always use complex passwords that consist of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special symbols. One suggestion is to take a word and make it cryptic.
For example, you could take the name of your favorite city and couple it with your first pet’s name. In my example, I am choosing ‘Chicago’ and ‘Jasmine’. My password could look like this: Ch!c4g0J4sm!n3. If you use patterns, like always replacing ‘I’ with ‘!’ and ‘a’ with 4, it makes it much easier to remember.
Sites such as Facebook and Foursquare are a popular way to share memories with loved ones and friends online. It is exciting to see memories from recent trips and get together all in one location on the web. However, there is a level of vulnerability that many users are not aware of. Leaving vacation plans or using online check-in apps can make it easier for theft, both physical and identity-oriented.
Plus, oftentimes these sites use dedicated servers to store their users’ information. Essentially a dedicated server is a computer used to host all of the information that users post to their site, and it is stored there long-term. Many times information will be stored even after it has been deleted from a user’s personal profile. When companies chose a dedicated server provider, they need to make sure that there are proper security measures in place so that these servers are not easily accessed by hackers and cyber criminals. Companies such as SingleHop provide these sorts of services, with many different options to better fit the needs of the specific site.
Most of these points of vulnerability are the result of activity that can leave a long trail of data for hackers to gain access to. Most of this information goes on a server that can be breached without the proper security measures in place. Keeping check on this basic information can go a long way in protecting your safety and giving you peace of mind.