The author of Future Crimes, Marc Goodman, offers some valuable tips you can initiate immediately to help protect yourself from security vulnerabilities and cyber crimes. Follow these simple steps (the digital equivalent of locking your front door and not leaving your keys in the car) and you can avoid 85% of the most common digital threats out there.
ANTIVIRUS SOFTWARE only catches 5% of NEW THREATS targeting your computer*
Modern software (operating systems, programs and apps) are riddled with bugs — security vulnerabilities which hackers use to break into your computer, mobile phone and other devices. Plug these holes by setting your software to automatically update from trusted parties.
DATA BROKERS collect more than 50 TRILLION unique data TRANSACTIONS per year*
Do not use the same password across multiple sites. Use a password management program to generate long (20 digits or more) unique passwords without the need to memorize them all. Only use password wallets from well-known and established companies such as 1Password, LastPass, KeePass and Dashlane. Take advantage of two-factor authentication whenever possible. Companies such as Google, Apple, Dropbox, Facebook and Paypal allow you to register to receive a unique one-time password via SMS or app directly to your mobile phone. Doing so means that even if your primary password is hacked, thieves still cannot access your account without physical access to your phone.
82% of ANDROID apps TRACK your other online activity*
Download software only from trusted parties, such as Apple’s App Store or directly from a company’s own verified website. Be highly skeptical of third-party sites offering “free” software. Use setting in both Windows and Mac to “whitelist” software, so that only approved programs from identified vendors can run on your machine. Pay attention to apps and their permissions. They are “free” for a reason and you’re paying with your privacy.
In 2014 an American was the victim of INDENTITY THEFT every 2 SECONDS*
Administrator login accounts have the highest level of privilege to make changes on your computer. If you are logging-in as the administrator and accidentally click an infected link or open an attachment containing malware, the malicious software can freely implant itself into your computer. Instead, create a separate standard “users” account to perform the majority of your work and online browsing. That way, if you accidentally download a virus, Trojan or worm, the malware may well require administrative access, giving you a warning sign.
In 2011, over 600,000 Facebook accounts HACKED every DAY*
Turn-off your computer or at least your WiFi connection when not in use. Thieves cannot reach out and touch your machine when not connected to the Internet. Simply keeping your computer offline when you sleep can reduce your threat profile by 1/3rd. Additionally, turn off services and connections on your smartphone when you are not using them. Keeping Bluetooth, WiFi, NFC and cellular hotspots active all the time provides additional avenues for attack.
80% of hackers are now working with ORGANIZED CRIME*
Windows and Mac both include free programs for full hard drive encryption (Bitlocker and Filevault respectively.) Use Virtual Private Network (VPN) software, especially when on public WiFi networks such as those at airports, coffee shops and hotels to protect your communications. Setting a password on your smartphone in the latest versions of iOS and Android, not only limits access to the device, but encrypts your data as well adding another layer of privacy and security.
About the author: MARC GOODMAN has spent a career in law enforcement, including work as Futurist with the FBI, Senior Advisor to Interpol and street police officer. As the founder of the Future Crimes Institute and chair for Policy, Law & Ethics at Singularity University, he has continued to investigate the intriguing, often terrifying intersection of science and crime, uncovering nascent threats and combating the darker side of technology.
*Sources listed at FutureCrimes.com. This article is an except from FutureCrimes.com. All rights reserved.