These days, the way we easily share our personal lives online is a brave yet dangerous act. It’s no surprise to see people we know desperate for online attention or recognition. And it’s working. We’re not afraid to share or even spare time to think about the potential risks we may be exposing ourselves to.
One of the most popular pictures you’ll see online are travelling images. Whereby some even turn on their location, revealing exactly where they’re right now.
In this article, I want to share with you the types of risks we’re exposing ourselves to with acts we thought were ‘harmless’ and didn’t think twice before posting it online.
We hope you’re not remembering sensitive information like your iBanking password from a piece of paper or announcing your ATM password to the public. Such actions are deemed foolish but it’s happening. Even if we do not commit such irrational acts in real life, we may unknowingly do so online.
One true example most of us had probably made before is posting a picture of your boarding pass photo online, revealing the barcode with the hashtag #travel. If you think it’s absolutely harmless to post such a picture, let me tell you, you’re wrong.
It’s not just your name, airline, flight number and travel destination you’re revealing and risking but a lot more confidential information about you. The barcode leaks sensitive information about you and your flight including the last 4-digits of your credit card number. How’s that?
Elementary hackers can easily access your details with a simple & free bar-code reader app. Now, you don’t want that, do you?
So the next time you see someone you know posting such pictures, warn them immediately about taking such a risk.
With such cases happening around the world, it has made me question my social media/tech practices and unsurprisingly, as I also find myself opening doors for online criminals without even realising it.
Therefore, I want to share with you several safety precautions I’ve taken:
- Not to Reveal LIVE Updates via Social Media
Most of us are utterly excited before going on vacation or a short getaway.
With social media in place with interactive platforms such as Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram, we feel the need to share the anticipation with others for our plans ahead. So we post things like, “x more days to my vacation to (travel destination) Can’t wait!” Yup, I’ve done that.
If you think about it, you’re opening doors for criminals and giving them time to plan ahead to commit home burglary.
While sharing of pictures and videos are acceptable and is in the norm, try not to share live updates of your whereabouts and how long you’ll be at a certain location before returning home.
Why? There’s no stopping someone who wants to commit a crime, especially when they know there’re no witnesses and the chances of a successful burglary is high. In fact, criminals are using technology to track whereabouts of homeowners. So stop making it this easy for criminals to attack you through your silly mistakes on advertising your whereabouts online.
Once you’re back from your vacation, feel free to share your experiences!
- Never Save Passwords/Credit Card Numbers on Your Browser
Are you guilty of saving your password every time your browser asks you to? You may have to pay the price of convenience.
If experts aren’t sure if internet browsers can securely store passwords, since browser password managers have not evolved much over the last five to eight years, it would be smart not to save your password and any confidential information for that matter.
Choose to store your passwords with dedicated password managers such as LastPass, 1Password or Dashlane. More than storing passwords, they also help you create strong passwords. Though there’s no such thing as a 100% secure password manager, these dedicated security sites are for sure much more secure than your Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge.
Better safe than sorry!
- The Best Way to Secure Your Personal Devices (Based on My True Story)
About a year ago, I encountered problems with my PC and sent it to a technician I trust to fix it. A day later, he asks for my Windows login password. It took hours for me to respond to him as I was not available at the moment, but when I responded he said, “Thanks, but I managed to access your PC without your password”.
This made me realise how vulnerable my personal information is as I thought all along my stuff was ‘safe’ in my personal device.
Think about all the saved credit card numbers and passwords to important client sites he could have access to?
Reading up on Microsoft’s solution to this password loophole, I realised the best solution is to have a super-secure password which only you would own: biometric verification (but this might not work if you have an identical twin). Windows Hello in Windows 10 is much safer as access to your device is allowed only with your biometrics or at least your PIN code.
This is probably the most secure and personal password you can have for convenient access to your device and is a feature now widely available in present devices such as Surface Pro 4, Microsoft Lumia and many other devices (including non-Microsoft hardware too). Even if your PC (like mine) does not have any form of biometric sensor, securing your PC with a PIN code is the next best thing you can do.
If you think that a PIN code is no different than passwords, hold that thought. Microsoft says that the PIN code assign to you are device specific and is tied to the hardware. This is important and remarkable, as a hacker is unable to access data remotely without both your PIN and physical device.
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