Technology is amazing and empowering. It allows us to do more than our parents ever dreamed possible. But technology is also demanding, and intrusive. It does not just allow you to do more. It allows more to be done to you. Progress is a double-edged sword. Any technology that has the potential to provide access to our personal information must be treated with a great deal of caution. Laptops, tablets, and especially smartphones are vulnerable to attacks from bad actors.
There are all kinds of high-tech methods of staying secure. Virtualization security products make a lot of sense if you are running an enterprise. Such products are available either as software or as a service. According to Trend Micro, such products protect “…enterprise applications and data from breaches and business disruptions without requiring emergency patching.”
But not everyone will require enterprise-level solutions for increasing their personal security with regard to their tech use. For the rest of us, there are low-impact things we can do that will go a long ways towards protecting us from those who would seek to exploit us. Here are a few suggestions:
Don’t Enter Passwords in Public
The Justice Department reminds you to beware of shoulder surfers. Those are the people who stand a little too close to you while you are at an ATM, or any other situation where you have to enter a PIN or password. They’re out there. And they are looking over your shoulder to see what you are entering on your smartphone, tablet, or laptop.
They don’t even have to steal your device in order to rob you blind. If they can get your email address and a password you use for something important, they have enough to make your life very miserable, very quickly. This is especially true if you use the same password for many logins. That is not an uncommon practice. It is hard to remember one truly good password. Remembering several is a big ask.
If you use a Mac or iOS device, it comes with something called Keychain. That is where your user names, passwords, and credit card information is stored if you choose to use the service. When you come to a field where you need to enter sensitive information, you can have Keychain enter it for you. Only a series of asterisks will show up on the screen. Even the most dedicated shoulder surfer will come away empty.
Both iOS and Android have ways of unlocking your screen without inputting a PIN. Be sure to use those methods such as TouchID so that you do not have to enter a PIN to unlock your phone in public. If you never enter the password, it can’t be stolen very easily.
Lie Like a Rug
Never get caught telling the truth when answering security questions. Banks are notorious for these types of inquiries. They represent a major security vulnerability. All of the major companies are guilty of this. They need to have some personal information that only you would know so that they can get you into your account in the likely event you forget your strong, 26 digit password.
Lie about your mother’s maiden name, about your first pet, about the elementary school you went to, about your favorite musician, etc. It is probably okay to use a standard set of lies. But it is never safe to tell the truth in these cases. It is much too easy for criminals to learn basic facts about you. The person who shoulder surfed you in the park, can now change your passwords, locking you out forever.
Never Let Anyone Use Your Smartphone
They don’t need to forcibly take your smartphone if they can convince you to give it to them without a fight. You must fight the idea that people are basically good. A little paranoia goes a long way. Even if the person with the sob story does not run off with your phone, you have to unlock it for them to use it. They can get a ton of useful information on the way to the phone app. Even the police are not beyond such tactics.
Most of the time, you don’t need layers of fancy security measures. Usually, the simple precautions are quite sufficient.
Article submitted by community Writer