Check Out These Useful Techniques To Prevent Your Personal Wikileaks
Wikileaks is a widely popular subject in news as well as an interesting topic for general discussion all around the world. Due to Wikileaks, a huge amount of information related to world governments which is generally hidden is revealed to the public.
The general public is normally either unaware or prefers to remain unaware of what is happening behind the scenes. The main reason behind this is that, some find it too difficult to keep a watch on what’s going on while others are too frightened to follow. However, in a society that believes in democracy, people deserve to know about what is happening in their government.
Let me make it very clear that this blog has nothing to do with politics. The above mentioned example is only to show how confidential information can be released to public due to a break in security chain, even though it is meant only for some intended recipients.
If you look at this issue on a personal level, you can imagine how such security failures can ruin careers, destroy relationships and lead to issues such as stolen identity.
In a recent write up on Personal Wikileaks, Jason Perlow explained how he received a Smartphone for evaluation only to learn that the earlier user was sophisticated technology journalist who had direct attention of popular technology industry leaders.
Many such incidents occur in tech journalism and there are a lot of instances where personal devices are used, evaluated and sent back without purging personal information. Moreover, these devices are not even wiped or purged by the vendor. This is nothing but complete carelessness.
Jason believes that this is an epidemic issue. However, it looks to be more of a systemic issue which is inbuilt in our personalities. People normally do not think about the safety of their personal information until and unless they deliberately focus on the issue. Humans still believe that all they need is food, shelter and protection from predators.
However, in today’s world, predators are no more interested in eating your carcass. All they want is your personal data. Internet is full of articles related to accidental data leaks that include celebrities losing their mobile phone containing some personal pictures, government employees misplacing their laptops etc.
Email accounts of various political candidates get hacked as they make use of simple, easy-to-guess passwords. Some malicious users hack databases of commercial websites in turn revealing critical financial data of their clients that is finally sold to some black market group overseas.
This issue related to information leaks is not going to end until and unless people start protecting their personal information in the same manner as they protect their money, families and homes. Jason Perlow has suggested a lot of ways of protecting personal data present on your Smartphone. You need to simply wipe the information on the device as well as the storage card before you give it to others.
Enhance your phone with remote admin capabilities so that you can wipe out your personal data from the device even in case you lose it. Always make use of a screen lock password or PIN as well as SIM lock password if possible. Most phones allow you to dial the local emergency number even if your phone is locked so that you do not have to waste time in unlocking it while trying to dial the emergency number.
However, the issue related to information leaks is not just confined to your Smartphone. You must be having critical data at various other places like your home, at work and on websites.
The major mistake that most people make is using the same password everywhere. Your passwords are the main thing that can strengthen the security of your critical data. Rather than using one password, you need to have around six of them. Create your passwords in such a way that they are difficult to crack.
An ideal password should contain not less than 8 characters. It should have at least 1 number, 1 capital letter and 1 special character like %,!, $, @, #,etc. Your password should not contain an actual word or should not have anything related to your life. Remember to change or rotate your password regularly. Keeping the password unchanged for over 90 days is not wise.
Allowing others to access or use your personal devices or computer is another thing that can lead to information leaks. Many people like carrying their phones with them. A number of times they leave their phones at their desk at the workplaces and disappear for sometimes only to realize that in their absence, their battery contacts have been taped over.
If you need to walk away from your seat leaving your cell phone behind, you need to make sure that you lock the screen of your phone with a screen lock password. In case you have a laptop or other portable computer hardware and there are visitors who walk in directly without any interception by the security, it is wise to keep it locked in your desk when you are not around.
You need to also secure or protect your cloud data when you check your emails. You must be having email accounts with Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo! or any other email clients which generally use cloud storage. You do not have to worry if you access your email using your home PC.
However, if you access your emails from Internet cafes or Libraries, you need to be very careful. Computers at such places may have keylogger or even if they don’t, you might not be very sure that you can purge all the saved passwords from these systems. You need to avoid accessing any personal/ financial data on the computers that you do not completely trust.
Some people do not understand the seriousness of information leaks until they unexpectedly realize that somebody has bought something expensive using their credit card details.
Nevertheless, taking care of small things like choosing proper passwords and preventing others from physically accessing your PC or devices can certainly make a difference. Data thieves are often seen following easy targets. In case you do not offer an easy target, they are bound to change their route.
Also, it is very important that you keep your anti-malware and anti-virus software up-to-date on your system.
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