How To Stay Safe & Protect Your Data On The Internet
In the fall of 2020, I was talking to website security and I was upgrading security, for a price of course.
The conversation I had was incredibly eye-opening. The cyber security professional on the other line told me that with the slowing down of business transactions, hackers had started to focus on individuals and smaller enterprises.
She also mentioned that as more and more of the world goes online the number of hackers and attacks the average person has to deal with is going up exponentially.
Was she selling me on better security? Yes. Was there truth to her statements? Yes.
As preppers we understand the importance of operational security better than the average person. In the flesh and bone world we would never do things that many of us do online.
Related: If You Own A Mobile Phone This Is What The Government, Google & Facebook Know About You
In the real world, OPSEC dictates that we do not divulge sensitive information about ourselves, our families, or our preps.
So, what happens online?
We get crazy and start taking pictures in every room of our home, in our vehicle, AT OUR KIDS SCHOOL, and just throw caution to the wind.
Here are some tips to help you sure up your online OPSEC.
Living in a socially networked society it is so alluring to share virtually everything about ourselves. When you share a picture of yourself you are often sharing much more than that. There is almost always a background.
In that background there are things that people can pick up on. Maybe you accidently show your mailbox and the address, maybe your license plate, maybe the sticker on the back of your car that tells everyone which school your kid goes to. Its all information.
Related: How To Become Invisible In A Crisis
The more information a bad person has about you the worse your situation. Be very careful.
The moment you sign into public Wi-Fi you are sharing a network with everyone around you.
Do you know them?
If not, then you have no idea what they are capable of or what their intentions are.
Turn Off Bluetooth
We tether to speakers, we Bluetooth to headphones and even to our cars now. Its much easier to just keep that Bluetooth setting on all the time. The trouble is that it opens another kind of door to your world.
Let’s put it this way in 2017 there was a pretty high profile attack called Blueborne that was being used to gain access to people’s devices when they had their Bluetooth on. That was in 2017! Imagine how much the technology has advanced since then.
Don’t Just Click – Verify
There are a million ways of enticing you to click links in your email or all across social media. You should only ever click links from trusted sources.
Before you click any link, you should verify where that link is actually taking you. By placing your cursor over the link, the actual destination of the link will show up at the bottom left of your screen.
If you are expecting to go to https://www.askaprepper.com and when you hover over the link it says anything else, then you know you have a tricky link and you must avoid it.
The VPN is a very effective tool. VPN stands for virtual private network. It gives you greater access to the internet as well as a host of other benefits. When it comes to staying safe online a VPN is essential.
Even if only just for the perks of using a VPN:
- Anonymous Online Presence by Hiding IP
- Encryption Against possible DDoS Attacks
- Safer Online Downloads
There are numerous other benefits to using a VPN and some companies also offer extended perks like added security measures.
Related: 11 Hacker Tips To Keep Your Phone From Tracking You
With your data encrypted and your IP anonymous it will be a struggle for anyone to know who you are and what you are doing online.
Only Go To Safe Places
In real life we avoid dangerous neighborhoods. Well, online there are dangerous places, too. Of course, not everyone knows how to recognize them.
Sometimes you happen down a road when you are lost and find that you have wound up on a block that makes you very nervous. It happens.
Well, those places exist on the internet, too. There are all kinds of shady sites out there. Most of the time your computer will warn you.
The S at the end of https:// stands for secure. There are still plenty http:// websites out there. They are not secure websites. These are not the kinds of websites you want to be ordering things from and giving your private information to.
Passwords Are A Pain But SPEND THE TIME
There was a time when you could just use your favorite cat’s name as your password and go about your business. Well, that age has long passed.
The quantity and size of the flaming hoops that you have to jump through now when you are creating a password are almost obscene.
All that said, take the time.
Get yourself a planner or a small journal and log your passwords.
Related: 10 Things You Should Do To Stop The Government From Tracking You
Each time you create a new one, make sure that you write it down. Be clear with your writing and be sure your write down the username for that password and what it is used for.
Mix your passwords up and make them silly and tough to crack. Think about things that have nothing to do with you and use them. Also, use special characters that most people do not in their passwords. Apostrophes and parenthesis are very common.
The world of antivirus software is about as scary as hackers you are trying to protect against. This is a hyper competitive market with a bunch of companies who do things you don’t really understand.
There are old standards like McAfee and Norton and there are slews of other companies that you probably know nothing about.
Instead of worrying about brands, let’s look at some things that your antivirus should be doing for you. This can help you understand if you have the best software or if you need an upgrade.
- 24/7 Customer Support
- Protection for Multiple Devices
- Real Time Security and Scans
- Phishing and Ransomware Protection
There is a lot of money to be made by stealing from others. Hackers are thieves of the cyber world. There is a spectrum of hackers out there, and you need to understand that. There are large, well-funded, hacking groups that use Ransomware on major US infrastructure.
Then there are guys with cellphones in Pakistan who just want your personal data so they can impersonate you and take what is not theirs. As Americans and preppers, we need to concern ourselves with both types of threats.
The tips we have shared with you in this article will make your online experience safer. It will keep your data away from the bad guys and allow you to take advantage of the massive power our interconnectivity affords us all.
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