In the current digital world, there’s nothing like an ideal perfect privacy and security situation. This is because of the evolving threats and ways in which attackers and hackers use to get your information. But there’s one thing we can do that guarantees us of a minimal breach or impact once the threats happen. Learning more tips that can enhance your privacy and security.
Privacy is an important right that most ordinary people take for granted and ignore it mostly. Other professionals such as activists, government staff and people of that manner have recently faced complex threats that led to disruptions of services networks and business. As these professionals are tightening up their workplace security, attackers may use you to get to them. To avoid being a vulnerability, here what you can do to protect your security and for everyone in general.
Read our previous article of mistakes that make your security vulnerable.
Secure your devices
The first step of securing your data is to secure your extreme endpoints. These are gadgets that we carry whenever we go such as smartphones and other wearables. For instance, our smartphones contain almost all of our personal information, online accounts, linked accounts and online banking. These makes our phones the greatest vulnerabilities. To ensure your device is secure, get a newer model or update it to the latest version, there’s always a reason why we see new flagships every year. If you must have two phones, ensure one is Android, and the other one is from Apple. iPhones are considered secure and roll out more updates than Android unless it’s directly from Google. Apart from having a newer model, ensure you have turned on your encryption system to kick in as soon as you lock your phone.
If you are that type that carries your laptop everywhere, also encrypt it. After doing the encryption, don’t store your keys in the cloud as the cloud companies can be forced to turn them over or they can get hacked as you are in the process of transferring them in a network. Regularly update all your programs, operating system and get rid of all the bloatware that is not essential. Use another mechanism that prevents tracking and storage of cookies on your computer.
Turn off fingerprint phone unlock
Even though your device is equipped with the latest biometric authentication and locking mechanism, use a passcode/password instead; old is gold. In the US, the feds can force you to use your fingerprint to unlock your phone but not your passcode. This is because it’s not a violation according to the Fifth Amendment. But remember that no one should know your passcode. You can also set both the passcode and biometric authentication to verify each other, but that’s tiresome and inconvenience in most cases.
Beware of apps you install
In the android realm, hackers and attackers have devised ways to fool both users and the Google Play Protect; a mechanism put up by Google to determine rogue apps. The new method is by disguising fake apps to look like the real apps, and they also indicate they are an update. Unsuspecting users will promptly install them and put themselves at immediate risks. Always read reviews and inspect the app in the more details section. Also, be careful when allowing certain permissions an app can access. An example of rogue apps that capitalized on permissions is Meitu; an anime photo app caused a privacy storm as it requested almost all permissions to access your devices.
Set a strong password/passcode
We will never be tired of stressing how a password is useless if it’s weak. Use a 12-character password with a different combination of characters. Also, use a different password for every other account you have. In terms of a passcode, choose one that’s hard to get but easy to key in for convenience purposes.
Enforce security for messaging purposes
If you value your privacy that much, this is an ignored area where you need to make sure you have appropriate security mechanisms. Did you know that the police and other authorities can listen to your phone calls and intercept messages? Its allowed by law. Police use stingrays to snoop on your phone – cell-site simulators – to redirect your secure connection to non-encrypted channels. Your messages also carry metadata, a description of where your message is going, what time you sent and the location. The metadata is what is used by government surveillance. You can limit the amount of data collected by using an app called Signal.
Signal is the best app with a straightforward interface coupled with an end to end encryption which has been audited by security experts. The fact that it’s open-source, everyone can look at the code and ensure there are no backdoors. And by that, signal has managed to remove itself from the surveillance radar as it collects almost no data. Signal is available for both Android, iOS and also for desktop.
Public/open WI-FI is a ‘NO’ zone
Again, if you need to do anything that involves the net and you spot a public WIFI, resist the urge to connect. Most of the times these WIFI zones are traps to steal your data, violate your privacy and even do more worse such as blackmailing. If at all you want to access the internet when you are away from your home, subscribe to a data plan and remember to use the LTE/4G. If you notice your connection is going back to 2G, beware, there might be stingrays in play.
Lastly, always ensure you are using a VPN when you are surfing the internet. A VPN increases your security and reduces the chances that your privacy and confidentiality can be breached. You also get other benefits such as accessing geo-restricted content, avoiding government censorship and even avoiding ISPs data throttling. Your security and privacy are not complete without one.