BUKIT LANJAN: Ignore at your own peril …

 BUKIT LANJAN: Ignore at your own peril …

This blog post is to alert and educate readers on the dangers of the digital world of cyberspace transactions.

For those who continue to take cyber security for granted, The Star Online’s Tech News by 123rf.com titled “Secure your digital self” is a must read.

Gerakan Deputy Speaker Syed Abdul Razak Alsagoff urged Malaysians to take heed of the advice and precautions outlined in the report.

“You may regret later when your cyberspace transactions go awry and you suffer undue losses or inconvenience,” he added.

Here’s the report that needs your serious action and attention:

"Tech News
Home > Tech > Tech News
Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Secure your digital self


Protect your accounts before they are lost, as recovering them is not an easy task. — 123rf.com
Guard your digital accounts with care because they are a part of you now.

Your digital life depends on keeping all your online accounts safe.

Take it from us – losing an account such as Facebook or Instagram can be a terribly traumatic experience.

And while you can contact the respective companies to get back your account, it’s tedious and painfully slow and, in some cases, you may never get it back.

So don’t let it happen to you.

Use it or lose it

If you are no longer using a particular service, delete the account. It may be tempting to just leave it there because you may have a use for it in the future but that’s a bad idea.

Services – even those run by large companies such as Yahoo or Sony – have been hacked in the past.

The info gained from an old or forgotten account will make it easier for hackers to get into your other more valuable accounts. Even if they don’t, they have a bad habit of dumping the data they have stolen on the Web which allows others to use the info.

So stop reading for a moment and head to haveibeenpwned.com and key in your username or e-mail address to find out if any of the services you use have been hacked.

If they have been, you will have to ensure that your other accounts are not using the same password or have the same security questions.

No to public WiFi

Most public WiFi networks are a danger to the public, as they are mostly unsecured. This allows attackers to capture your data mid-stream while it’s being transmitted from your device to the WiFi router.

Also, you may not even know if you are connecting to a legitimate hotspot, as hackers can easily setup their own WiFi network with similar names.

So while it’s tempting, refrain from connecting to one – after all with local telcos offering more data than ever with their mobile plans, you really have no reason to do so.

And if you do connect to a public WiFi, refrain from logging in to your online accounts.

Two factor

All it takes is just a misstep or two for hackers to steal your password when you get careless. So you need to be able to stop them even when they have your password and it’s now possible with some accounts.

Two-factor authentication, which is supported by companies such as Google (bit.ly/1AyTGig), Microsoft (bit.ly/2bLNUtu) and Apple (apple.co/1QcM786), allows you to include your phone number for security verification so that your password alone is not enough to get into your account.

A security code will be sent to your phone when your log in to a new machine or after a certain period – usually a month – has lapsed. You will have to enter this code to access your account.

It’s a bit of a hassle but you’ll get used to it.

Pro tip: Google allows you to opt for a prompt so you just have to tap Yes on your phone instead of having to enter a code. So make sure you turn on this feature after you enrol for the two-factor authentication.

Keep it private

You might think hackers rely on their killer tech knowledge to break into systems but they actually prefer a much easier method – social engineering.

It’s so much easier to get the information from a human – as we tend to be too trusting – than a machine.

But nowadays they don’t even have to do much of that because most people are posting their personal info on social networks, not realising that it’s accessible by everyone.

First of all – there really isn’t a good reason to give out so much info in the first place but if you feel the need to than ensure that the info is only visible to your friends.

Facebook, for instance, allows you to view your profile as how the public sees it. Go to your profile (and not your timeline) and click on View As – if you don’t see it then click on the three dots to expand the menu. By default it picks the public but you can also select a specific person.

Never share

Remember, nobody will and should ask for your password. Whether it’s customer service from a telco or bank, the caller doesn’t require your password to help you.

In the event this question is asked, you must view it with the highest suspicion – in fact, you should immediately verify that the person on the other end is who he or she claims to be.

While we are on the topic of passwords, here are a few simple ways you can come up with a good one.

• Go long: When it comes to passwords, length really does matter. The longer the password, the longer it will take a machine to guess your password.

• Phrases, not words: Sure, it’s called a pass-word but you are better off using a phrase. So instead of, say, using DonkeyKong as your password, try ILoveDonkeyKong. It’s longer and much harder for a machine or hacker to figure out. Alternatively, think of a longer phrase and then just use the first letter of each word.

• Mix it up: Variation is the key – you will need to capitalise letters, and use numbers and symbols in your phrases. However, simple substitutions like using 1 for i or 0 for o no longer works – hackers have taken this into account so it only takes them a little longer to figure out the password. So you have to get creative, maybe inserting a symbol in between words.

• Be different: Don’t use the same passwords for different sites. You can easily vary them by adding a suffix or prefix made from the name of the site.



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