IoT devicesTechnology is constantly changing and so is our relationship to the internet. In the 1990s, your email was all you had to worry about. You started banking online, and now your smartphone is connected and you have Facebook. Your entire life is online. You are always being monitored. Your ISP stores your browsing history and may track you by Facebook or other advertisers. Your IoT devices could be tracking you. It is a huge task to keep things private, even before hackers get involved… What information is available for hackers?

It’s possible that you don’t realize how much personal information is out there. Let’s take a look at some of the information available and explain why hackers might be interested.

PII – Personally identifiable information. This information includes your name and address, email address. SSN, tax number. Date of birth. Medical records. Educational records. Employment. Hackers could find a lot of this data and use it to steal your identity also known as identity theft. This data could include information about purchases you made on Amazon or your investments with an online broker. This private information can also be used to compromise other online accounts.

All email, SMS and instant messages are stored on servers. You might have sensitive business documents, love letters, bank account details, and other information that you don’t want the rest of the world to see in your email. Hackers will also be interested to see your contacts. If they have those details, they can send phishing email to anyone they know.

Cookies, ISP logs and browser plugins can store browsing data. This data is useful for advertisers and may even be more valuable with Big Data.

You may be using the internet in real-time to make a Skype or video conference call. Are you certain that no one is listening?

Some of these details may be hidden from your conscious. You may also be frustrated by Facebook’s desire to share with your friends what you just bought or listened too, or how the LA Times shows you ads for something that you searched two weeks ago.

Hackers continue to improve their methods and so should your email protection. Phishing, for example, has been around for a while. This involves sending fake emails asking you to connect to a spoofed site that looks like it trusts or with links that can install malware on your computer. Fake links on social media, as well as hacked accounts on social media, are now used to steal data and intrude upon your privacy.

Although public Wi-Fi can be a great thing as it allows you to work from any Starbucks, it also poses a security risk. Hackers have yet another avenue to gain access to your computer and steal your data by using unprotected hotspots. What can you do to protect your online privacy from hackers?

IOT Devices: Protect yourself from hackers by using a VPN

Access to public Wi-Fi is possible without authentication. This is great news for you and hackers alike. They don’t even need authentication to access public Wi-Fi. You can be hacked using Man-in-the-Middle attacks (MTM), or you can set up a Wi-Fi hotspot called ‘honeypot Wi-Fi hotspot’ to get your data.

It may be more convenient to use your laptop’s 4G mobile connection to get Wi-Fi. To do this, set up your mobile as a Wi Fi hotspot and let your laptop connect to it.

You can even use a Virtual Private Network to create a private portal to the internet.

What does a VPN do to prevent hacking?

It makes it impossible for anyone to track you by redirecting your internet traffic in order to hide your IP address. It also encrypts the information you send over the internet to stop anyone from reading it. This includes your ISP. A VPN is a great way to keep your online privacy private.

VPNs are not only good for online security and privacy, but they also have a few other benefits. You can visit sites that might be blocked by your Wi-Fi provider, such as Facebook and Twitter. It can also access geolocation-blocked content. This is useful for travelers who need to access financial accounts that may be blocked for ‘foreign’ users.

There are many ways to get free VPNs. However, they may come with restrictions. Premium VPNs are worth the cost if you want to keep your online privacy private.

How encryption protects privacy

It might be worth considering encryption to protect your online privacy. You might be doing this already, as businesses that store your data may encrypt it. For example, your bank may use encryption through SSL certificate or TLS certificates on its website.

The padlock is a symbol that your browser has encrypted the link to the server. A hacker could attach malicious software to the server hosting the form that you fill out if the padlock is missing. This program could allow hackers to listen to your communications and steal your information. No one can see what you fill in if SSL/TLS is enabled.

A URL that begins with https:// is another way to tell if a website uses SSL/TSL. HTTPS is safer than HTTP. The encryption does not protect your communication. Your information could become vulnerable to an attack on the company network if it is stored on the server of the company.

It is also important to know that Skype calls are encrypted 100% – provided they are 100% made on Skype. However, if you make a Skype phone call to a regular telephone number, the link over a PSTN (ordinary telephone network) isn’t encrypted. This could allow anyone to listen in. If you have an iPhone or Android smartphone, you can use ‘Secret Conversations’ to encrypt your Facebook messages. However, it is not possible to do this on your computer or laptop.

WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption is one of the main reasons it has grown in popularity. While encryption is available in other apps, it’s not standard on WhatsApp. You can find the setting to enable encryption – it’s a must!

When you want to keep your privacy online, encryption is a huge benefit. But governments don’t always agree. Some governments are pushing for tech providers to include backdoors that allow security agencies to access data. Hackers will attempt to gain access to your data if you leave the backdoor open.

To protect your privacy, reduce your digital footprint

It’s worth considering whether you want to decrease your digital footprint when you think about protecting your privacy online. We are so used to sharing photos online and telling our friends what we have listened to. We don’t think about where the information is stored, or how it could be used.

This could mean refusing to accept some suggestions that social media and other sites make such as tags for people who were with you. This could mean you turn off location services on some social media. It can be very helpful to manage your online presence and protect your privacy. These are some ways you can reduce the amount of personal information that is online and to whom:

You can keep your social media private. Limit access to Facebook to your friends and only allow them to see your posts.

You can restrict who can send you friend requests. For example, ‘anyone’ could be replaced by ‘friends of acquaintances’.

On social media, turn off location, face recognition, and ‘interests buttons. Some social media platforms may post your location online, regardless of whether you wish it to. This is not great for privacy and can pose a safety risk to burglars. You can also turn off geotagging on your phone by turning off its GPS.

Unsubscribe to any email lists you do not want to be on. For one-off purchases or inquiries about insurance quotes, you might consider using a secondary email address. Your personal email should be kept private for family and friends.

Internet of Things (IoT), devices that monitor your habits should be password protected. They should also run on a separate guest network to prevent them from accessing your internet accounts. You can also remove old devices and ones you don’t use from this network.

Redact as necessary. You can post a photo of your driving test result to prove that you passed it. However, make sure to hide your phone number, address and any other information.

You can check what is happening for you automatically. For example, some people don’t want Google automatically logging travel plans in their calendar.

Social media was not created to be an advertising company. It was a service that users found more enjoyable. These tips might sound hard, but they are a way to make social media more fun and less private.

IoT devicesAnti-hacker software can help protect your privacy

You have a variety of software options to help you protect your online security and privacy. There are a variety of software available to protect your online privacy and security. Some can be used to prevent websites from tracking you while others will stop hackers installing malware on your computer. Others can be installed as extensions for your browser, while others require separate installation. It is possible to call it anti-hacker software, but it will not stop a determined hacker. However, such software can make hackers very hard to access your computer and your data.

Browser plugins, for example, can be used to block websites from tracking you. Facebook can track you even when you’re not there, and gather your browsing history for targeted ads. Although it may seem innocent, Facebook’s data sharing and collection practices are often under attack.

Make sure you have anti-virus and antimalware software. You can’t afford to have your online privacy invaded by a keylogger Trojan. It is a good idea to clean up your phone or PC from time-to-time. Make sure that no hacker programs have access.

Another option is to download an app that will erase all data from your phone in the event it is stolen or lost. You can remotely wipe data from any Google device if you have Google devices synced. Do not allow your banking apps or contact list to be stolen by hackers. Just wipe the phone.

Although it is not anti-hacker software strictly speaking, a good password manager can be worth its weight. We recommend that you use strong passwords and multiple passwords for different accounts or networks to reduce the risk of intrusion. However, this is not a simple task if there are many accounts to protect. A password manager can help protect your accounts. However, you should make sure that your password manager is protected with strong passwords.

All of these protections can be installed separately. You can also choose Kaspersky’s Total Security which bundles all of your protection into one package.

How to protect your privacy

Online privacy is about keeping your networks and devices secure. There are many ways to achieve this, including using a password manager. Here are some other tips to help protect your privacy from hackers:

Two factor authentication should be enabled on all accounts. You’ll receive an SMS message to confirm each transaction when you use PayPal. Others accounts use biometric markers like fingerprints, patterns, or even physical fobs or dongles to verify transactions.

Do not install unofficial apps on your phone. Instead, use the Apple App Store and Google Play.

Pay attention to the permissions that you grant smartphone apps. Question the word processing app if it wants to access your Google account and use your microphone and camera, as well location information and in-app purchases.

You can uninstall any software or apps that you don’t use.

If a hacker manages to take control of a program on your phone, or modify the settings, they will not be able access the phone. They also won’t have the ability to install any software on your phone.

Make sure all of your software is up-to-date. Hackers find vulnerabilities in outdated software and operating systems all the time.

You can deactivate the autofill feature. Although it is a time-saving option, hackers can also benefit from it. You must keep all auto-fill information somewhere, such in your browser profile folder. This is where hackers will look to steal your identity and access your accounts.

If you are involved in a sensitive transaction, a VPN or private browsing mode is recommended.

It is easy to lose your phone with a small size. The thieves love phones. Install software that can wipe out your phone in the event it is lost or stolen.

Set up your router using a new password and router name. You’ve made it more difficult for hackers to hack your router by changing the password using WPA authentication. Why change the username? It’s simple – usernames usually indicate the type of router it is running on or the network that it is connected to. You can also change it to another name (preferentially not your own), and hackers will be deprived of this information.

Log out once you have finished using your account. You can expose your account to security risks by allowing it to run in the background. Most banks log customers out after a set time. However, the biggest threat to privacy is not from banks – it’s from social media.

These tips will help you block any backdoors hackers use to gain access to networks, apps, or devices. These tips, along with other actions such as reducing your digital footprint and using a VPN to protect your privacy, should help you keep your life private.

Make sure to keep current on cybersecurity if you are serious about protecting your online privacy. There are always new threats and new ways to deal with them. You update your computer software every now and again, so keep your brain up-to-date by checking in with IT security professionals regularly.

Call SpartanTec, Inc. now for more information about managed IT services and how it can help your business by keeping hackers and online threats at bay.

SpartanTec, Inc.
Columbia, SC 29201
(803) 408-7166

Serving: Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, Columbia, Wilmington, Fayetteville, Florence