Privacy and Security: Should we just give up?

Creepy nerd securityPerhaps it’s because technology glitches have kicked my butt this week, but today I’m very worried about the future of technology… more specifically the future of privacy and security.

Well, “worried” isn’t all of it. I’m angry. And scared. And fed up. For every amazing tool that comes along to help us with our world, some blankety-blank blank-hole hacker finds a way to sneak into it, with results from annoying to financially draining to downright life threatening.

(Who are the hackers? Here’s a great article.)

Here’s a summary of just a few of the latest insane threats:

Ashley Madison

I could go on and on. And on. And on.

So, what are we going to do? How can we protect ourselves?

I wish I had an easy answer. Many of the things that we’ve encountered lately are outside our control. We can’t do anything about our information being released to the world from the U.S. government’s databases. But we can and should take these steps:

  1. Be Aware
    This is perhaps the most important step you can take. We hear so often about breaches and hackers and cyber crime that it’s easy to tune it out. Keep reading these news alerts to know what’s happening. If you get an email from one of your services (your bank, social media account, etc.), FIRST make sure it’s a valid email, then read it and take action.

    Also, when you hear about a large breach, you can plug your email in here to see if your credentials show up on a list.

  2. Take Action
    A couple of years ago, people found a huge hole in the security of something like 60% of websites — the Heartbleed Bug. People were warned to pay attention and change their passwords — like all their passwords. I bet less than half of us took that action.Like I said, we’re kind of suffering from hack fatigue. It’s a pain to stop what we’re doing and run in and change passwords or verify identity or what-have-you. But to stay safe, we need to take swift, immediate action to protect our identities and more.
  3. Stay Smart
    One of the reasons that it’s such an inconvenience to go back and change a password is because we frequently forget the password and often can’t remember the answer to our security question. It’s not just you who can’t remember your father’s middle name. It’s a pain.I use the password manager LastPass to create complicated passwords that I can change with just a couple of clicks, but even LastPass was hacked (although I’m sticking with them because their overall shields held). If you don’t trust cloud-based password managers, try KeePass or PasswordCard.
  4. Take Precautions
    A lot of smart people have written great advice on ways to surf safely and be smart online.I just met this security expert at the National Speakers Association conference (yes, that’s NSA. Heh.). He’s from Boston and is definitely wicked smhat.Google Online Security Blog just reported on the online safety habits of security professionals. Interesting, don’t you think?

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