Are You Practicing Safe Cyber?

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No, I don’t mean sexting. I mean are you actually using secure passwords, encryption, and other techniques to keep your digital life safe? Have you ever heard the phrase: “What mom doesn’t know wont hurt her?” Well in this case, that isn’t true.

Pretty much everything you do in your daily life, especially young adults and even children, is impacted by something digital. Your watch, GPS, phone, car, sneakers, clothes, and now even glasses have advanced technology which can track your whereabouts, your personal messages, your photos, etc. and with timestamps.

Let’s take iPhones for an example. Not many people know that there is actually a hidden folder or folders that keep sensitive information. And when I say “sensitive” I mean everything you do, everywhere you go, and even what you think about doing. All texts, apps, location pings, times, dates, voice messages, etc. are all kept and readily accessible by anyone with a little digital forensic knowledge.

I could write an entire novel ranting about data security and digital device flaws but I’d rather give some tips on maintaining your personal information before it becomes public. The quick tip is make your passwords as long and as random as possible. That includes using numeric values and even those little symbols above the number keys on your keyboard. That’s right, it’s that serious. Doing this will REALLY help, but of course doesn’t fix it. Also don’t use the same password for everything.

I kind of describe the action of hacking digital devices like I would breaking and entering into someone’s home. If someone really wants to get in, they will. But you can certainly beef up your security to make sure only top level experts can do it. If you are a normal user/person, then no hacker will want to go through that much trouble just to see your work schedule.

Another tip is getting a good firewall, antivirus, anti spyware, etc. software. That doesn’t mean get 10 different types of antivirus because they will all most likely conflict with each other and significantly slower your computer if not stopping it from working. Mac users used to be ahead of the game until they started becoming more and more popular. Now even you Mac users will need these programs as well. Oh, and make sure all of these programs are currently updated!

For the more advanced computer users out there, I would just say to never stop learning about new software and hardware. Be aware of your downloads and software you use as well as how you use it. Stay up-to-date with some great blogging sites like digg, engadget, reddit, etc. If you own a Mac check out macrumors. There are thousands of websites out there providing unlimited information.

As far as selling or throwing your old digital junk away, make sure you completely destroy or erase the hard drive and RAM. RAM is volatile so just turn your computer on and off again for that. The hard drive on the other hand, is a bit more tricky. Most people that “know” you need to erase a hard drive think that a quick format is enough. WRONG! You need to be thorough. Erase the drive 7-10 times to be safe, especially if it is holding sensitive information. Basically formatting a drive will fill it up with a bunch of 0s. Strong magnets will do the trick when you want to just throw the drive away.

This also applies to cell phones, mp3 players, gps, xboxes, playstations, etc. You can even go as far as encrypting your drive with like 512bit encryption that even the FBI couldn’t crack. Now that costs some serious coinage as well as some knowledge. Also who the hell would want to type in 20+ completely random characters into a box every time they want to access their computer? Not me.

Technology is getting to be such a demanding part of our everyday lives that we tend to forget about what may happen when the digital apocalypse comes. Keep your digital life prepared and secure!