In light of the scandal involving nude photos of famous celebrities apparently hacked from iCloud, many ask themselves how do you avoid your personal photos from being leaked online?
The protection of our private personal information and financial data can be a daunting task as the internet becomes an integral part of our everyday lives.
Kaspersky Lab advises us to take seven steps to protect our data online and not end up “naked” on the net as Jennifer Lawrence did.
- Make life more difficult for hackers. All your devices must be current with all security updates and newer firmware. This will minimize the risk of exploitation of known vulnerabilities. Choose the appropriate security. Do not go by the marketing, but for the comparison results.
- Turn off automatic backup in the cloud: this will prevent the information and photos you have on your mobile device to be sent automatically to the services of personal cloud storage. Thus your files will only be on your device.
- Create strong and different password for each service you use: This measure will prevent the hackers to access the accounts through your device, such as social networking and cloud hosting. When creating a password, always use a combination of letters and numbers and include a symbol if the site allows it. Use tools to manage your passwords to remember them; these services will help you develop a more complex password. Also, remember to use different passwords for each site. Think about how many times you have used the same username and password for multiple online accounts. Hackers specifically chose sites with little security to access a long list of usernames and corresponding passwords, knowing that many people use the same combination of credentials to other sites such as online banking.
- Enable Dual Authentication tool: a code sent to a selected device or smart phone as an SMS message. This prevents a third party to access your account.
- Encrypt your files: Encryption prevents the attacker to access the information and pictures of the devices or the backup online services you use.
- Do not use free WiFi networks or any network without encryption protection: Although security experts have warned about the dangers of open wireless networks for years, many users continue to ignore the recommendations in favor of convenience. Public Wi-Fi networks are not only open to users, but also to the invaders that try to steal confidential user data. Cyber criminals can use relatively simple and well-known techniques to intercept traffic from users when they perform financial transactions online at sites like PayPal, Amazon or the website of your bank, for example. Even when the hotspots have turned on encryption, attackers can launch attacks to compromise wireless routers. The safest method is to not use public wireless networks under any circumstances. And this not only applies to laptops. The smartphone tries to connect to Wi-Fi networks whenever possible (unless you configure it not to do so) and to an attacker, all data are valuable.
- Avoid opening files or questionable websites: Many websites ask for personal information to allow connection to an account or to complete a transaction. Cyber criminals know this and often try to intercept your information during these operations, so you should always use the official sites of known companies. Moreover, it is important to check if the site you visit using a Web address beginning with “http” has a padlock symbol in the address bar or at the bottom of the browser. This means that the site encrypts information, data practically unusable for any thief or impossible for a hacker to intercept the transmission.
“The most important lesson we learn when these incidents occur is to be careful about managing our information and sensitive content as unauthorized access to this information can cause irreparable damage to our real life,” said Dmitry Bestuzhev, director of the research and analysis team for Latin America at Kaspersky Lab.
Besides staying alert, beware of further attacks. Most important: phishing attacks can arise from news events so do not open emails from suspicious or unknown senders.