I don’t care much about security. It’s a hassle. Talking about it generally makes people feel dumb and scared. So I want to talk about nothing less than how to prepare for the day when the criminals choose my number. But it’s important and doesn’t have to suck all the air out of the room.
Most of our personal information is already out there, if not because of our own incompetence, then thanks to the incompetence of organizations large and small who have greedily collected our personal information, sold it to the highest bidder(s), and then neglected to protect it from those who would steal it and use/resell it for nefarious purposes.
If I’m like anyone who might be reading this, I’m in some stage of working towards accepting this:
We’re all grieving the reality that we’ll always be vulnerable to threats like cybercrime.
Even if I’m not grieving anymore, have accepted my fate in this age of having my personal information floating around out there for any buttwhack to exploit at any moment, if I’m like the average bear out there I’m probably not doing anything to prepare to respond to it. Odds are I’m not pro-actively protecting my organization or my employees and their livelihoods by assessing my owned risk or learning how to minimize or even eliminate those preventable risks to my future.
Technology is hard for everyday people to understand, yet we willingly invite its complexity into our lives willy nilly. We install listening devices into our homes because we think it’s fashionable and we buy smart watches that share our intimate health data with companies who are thinking of more and more new ways to exploit it as we speak
None of us are being compensated for our most valuable asset, either, this personal info, which is very shocking. If we’d discovered oil in our yard we would never give it away. But we do. Most of us are giving it away every day.
What can we do to minimize our hemorrhaging of personal info? For starters, here are some tips:
- Mobile Carriers are Selling our Location Data: Turn off Location Services whenever you’re not using Maps to find your way around.
- Bluetooth isn’t Secure: Turn off Bluetooth whenever you’re not using it.
- Retailers are Tracking You: Turn on Airplane mode (or at least turn of WiFi and Bluetooth) whenever you enter big box retailers (and some medium-sized ones, too)
- Free WiFi isn’t Awesome: Don’t connect to “free WiFi” just because it’s there. If you need to, be sure you’re using a VPN.
- Your car is stealing your personal info: Delete your phone and personal info from leased/rented/sold cars after you’ve connected to them via Bluetooth or USB.
- Use DuckDuckGo as your browser of choice
Agreed, we shouldn’t have to do all this work. Until apps and platforms are designed and built with respect for our privacy, however, the work is up to us.
Please share these personal-information-protecting tips with friends and family.