With GDPR right around the corner, and the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica data leak still fresh in our minds, internet privacy and online security have never been more top of mind. We’re all trying to find ways to protect our personal data, and some people are taking extreme measures like completely removing themselves from certain platforms, or going offline as much as possible. While these are some ways to help protect you from online risk, we don’t want you to miss out on the latest and greatest in tech because of it. So, what is online privacy, and how can you protect yourself?
Online privacy is the protection of your personal data. This includes contact information, e-mail addresses, birth dates, genders, and more. It’s also the protection of your online activities such as your browsing history or your chat messages and the protection of information relating to online assets, such as crypto-currency wallets.
Individuals and organizations are entitled to online privacy. Individuals need to protect their personal data, while organizations need to protect their company information, such as corporate inventions and HR material, as well as their customers’ data.
Tips to better protect yourself online
LEARN: There is no better weapon to protect your privacy than understanding the concepts behind it.
THINK: How does a service you use make money? Do they sell your private data? If they don’t charge you, you might be the product not a customer. Ask yourself if the product or service you receive is worth sharing your data for.
ACT: Default software and settings are usually not optimized for your privacy. Take action and get ahead of the problem. HEXONET offers WHOIS privacy protection and SSL certificates to make sure your domains stay secure.
Why is a strong password important?
A strong password provides protection.
With the current technology, a potential attacker is able to try out thousands of different passwords in a second! In order to gain a strong level of security, raise the bar and make it more difficult for an attacker to guess your password by trial and error.
Another reason to choose a strong password is due to risk of your service providers’ computer systems being compromised. Almost every week we hear news about how usernames and passwords are stolen. Usually, passwords are encrypted using a one-way encryption algorithm which hides the real password from the attacker. However, experience has taught these attackers how to easily reconstruct the weaker passwords. So be strong, long, and mix it up!
Tips for choosing a strong password
Passwords should be long, ideally 15 characters or more.
They should not be commonly used and should not be found in a dictionary. Mix letters, numbers, and character casings to create a more complex (and longer) password.
Even though it’s convenient, you should not use the same password for different services. You can use a password manager to store and protect your different passwords, but be aware that this will be your Achilles’ heel since such applications are a special target for attackers. If the application has any weaknesses, it can be used to gain access to all of your passwords.
You should add at least one extra security factor, such as 2-factor authentication or IP address restriction where access to your account is only granted if the request is being sent from one of your pre-determined IP addresses. When you enable 2-factor authentication, whenever you access your account, an additional one-time password (token) is required. It will typically be created by an application on your cell phone. This way, even if your login name and password is known to an attacker, a login will not be possible because they don’t have access to the token.
Be careful who and what you trust, question incentives and business propositions, and be a smart, well-informed online citizen.
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