Many internet users have become increasingly concerned about protecting their privacy online, but it isn’t just thieves and hackers we need to be concerned with – what about your government accessing everything you do online?
Security expert Bruce Schneier, who worked on the Edward Snowden stories, told British paper, The Guardian recently that, “If the NSA wants in to your computer, it’s in. Period”.
“The NSA has turned the internet into a vast surveillance platform, but they’re limited by the same economic realities as the rest of us, and our best defence is to make surveillance of us as expensive as possible.”
For practical solutions, here’s what some of the top security experts suggest to deter both state spies and ordinary fraudsters:
• Passwords: Don’t use the same one all the time. Make it complex with upper- and lower-case letters, numbers and characters such as $%&!.
• Security or password reset questions: If you are asked to provide answers to “security questions”, consider whether the answers are really secure. If you are obliged to answer standard questions, remember the answer doesn’t have to be true, it only has to be memorable to you.
• Social media: Use security features on Facebook and Twitter such as two-factor authentication and notification of log-in attempts from unknown devices. Don’t share anything that could give clues about answers to security questions.
• Email: Free email and webmail services are vulnerable, so at the very least, install two-step verification or use a management app like Strong Pass for an extra level of security.
• Cloud services: All cloud providers based in the US and the UK (including Dropbox, iCloud and Evernote) are open to surveillance, so encrypt information you don’t want to share before uploading sensitive documents to the cloud.
• Connections: All your devices are connected all of the time, so remember that if one is breached others become unsafe. Keep track of which services you give permission to access others, and revoke this if one is compromised or you stop using it.