Throughout the months of May and June, various research specialists, including myself, have thrown a lot of information out there regarding the current state of cybersecurity and the dangers threatening those participating in today’s digital environment.
It’s scary stuff, truly. From the time I began the history of hacking introduction to even the time it was published, multiple incidents occurred that reinforced our decision to focus on this virtual pandemic.
With the seemingly endless onslaught of malware, phishing attacks and overall trend of preying on the vulnerable, it’s difficult to feel safe navigating the digital world. Do we delete our Facebooks, emails and banking apps, and instead choose to reside isolated in a cave by the sea? Do we need IT security software to keep us safe?
This doesn’t sound terrible as an experimental vacation, but it’s inconceivable as a lifestyle for the grand majority. Plus, there are pictures of grandchildren to share and email newsletters to read from the nephew who’s backpacking through Europe. To live in fear is to not really live. We’ll miss out on life.
So, we adjust. We put two-step verification on our email and social media logins. We verify websites before clicking and we don’t enter login information unless we’re certain we’re on a site we trust.
You don’t have to know a lot about technology to give yourself better chances of success with apps and devices.
We allow fewer websites and web apps—yes, quizzes and celebrity look-alike generators—to have access to our social media profiles, or we make sure to delete their access immediately following. (The permissions you give these apps remain connected to your profile until you navigate to settings and physically remove them. If you frequently allow the internet to tell you which Disney Princess you most resemble, you’ll want to give this setting some attention.)
We become more careful with the wireless networks that connect to our computers and ensure we forget those networks after the duration of our hotel stays or stints on unfamiliar airport wireless connections.
We call our grandparents and other friends who are new to technology and make sure they know not to transfer money to unknown destinations, log in to suspicious websites or otherwise compromise their identities.
You don’t have to know a lot about technology to give yourself better chances of success with apps and devices. You just have to think critically and determine individually which devices, apps and websites you trust with personal information.
Before downloading Snapchat, ask where your pictures are going.
Before downloading a banking app, find out how it protects your privacy and security while you’re on the train.
Before buckling into a self-driving car, be sure to understand the various complications and emergencies that can occur while navigating a new type of vehicle. (This issue’s still a little ways out from being mainstream but the concern still stands.)
We live in a world where the expectation to juggle various accounts, profiles and other technology is high. Professional and social circles alike put on pressure to have Twitter, Venmo, Outlook360, Find Friends, Uber, Square and more. The list is endless. Your best defense is you.
The excitement of trying a new app, game or device will never be worth the repercussions of using them haphazardly. Know what you’re signing up for. Understand what you’re clicking on. It is possible that these precautions will still lead to unfortunate situations, but it’s best to do all you can to prevent what you can.