The subject of hacking has been in the news a great deal of late, especially in relation to the chaos created on the Xbox and Playstation live networks over Christmas. This act of deliberate sabotage, as well as the alleged attack on Sony by North Korea, has brought to the fore the very real dangers of potential disruption with malicious intent for major corporations, so where do you, the individual, stand? The truth is that you may be more at risk than you think.
Protecting Personal Data
Take a moment to think about this question: how much personal information do you share online? We’re not talking only about information you pass to others about your name, address, and other information, but about data that you may share across the internet without a second thought. For example, how often do you shop online? When you do you will undoubtedly use a payment method, perhaps your bank account or a merchant account. Are you certain this is absolutely secure?
The company concerned will make every effort to ensure it is, of course, but you need to make an effort too. Then there are your passwords: how many are the same? Are they identifiable by your name, date of birth, pet, or anything you may share on Facebook, for example, without thinking? You would be surprised how many lax passwords are a direct invitation or a hacker,
You can do several things to protect your information further: use different passwords that are absolutely random and include letters, numbers and both upper and lower case; take extra care when using a public WiFi hotspot as it will be largely unsecured; use a virtual private network, or VPN, when browsing, especially in public. The latter is becoming a popular method of protection as, for a small fee, it provides not only anonymity, but encrypts the information you send and delivers it via secure servers that are far more difficult to hack than those used by the major providers. Most of all, be very careful who you give your personal data to, and never share any of your passwords.