Headlines detailing the worst hacks in history are gaining momentum with no end in sight. Whereas hacking was once a slowly growing problem just a decade ago, today’s hacks are becoming increasingly more sophisticated and pervasive. The Equifax hack alone compromised nearly 145.5 million people’s sensitive financial records. Hacking is also an expensive problem for companies and individuals alike. According to Juniper research, cybercrime will be responsible for $2 trillion lost by 2019.
There’s no point in denying it. The hacking epidemic will only continue to grow and spiral out of control. That’s why it’s more important than ever to protect and maintain your digital privacy. Here’s a breakdown of basic and advanced techniques everyone can use.
Skip the Conveniences
It’s tempting to keep hitting “save” every time Google prompts you on whether or not you want to save the password you just typed in. But it’s not worth leaving yourself vulnerable. Just skip that convenience altogether and rely on typing in your password instead. It’s also wise to go ahead and turn on 2-factor identification. The idea is a password protected app or software will send a text to your phone to ensure it’s you trying to log in. The problem is this process takes extra steps and is seen as an inconvenience. In reality, it can enhance your security and reduce chances for a hack.
Keep Your Software Updated
Its true hacking has become more sophisticated, but it’s also not difficult to infiltrate even the latest, most secure laptop if your software is outdated. Operating systems and apps constantly release patches and upgrades to plug known vulnerabilities, upgrade security and keep your devices running efficiently. So when you don’t update your systems, you’re leaving an open door to hackers to take advantage of those holes and access your files. To stay safe, turn on automatic updates for your systems and software. As always, you should stay diligent to avoid phishing emails and scams that encourage you to respond or click on links to download malware.
Employ Touch ID
Our smartphones are like little security boxes with all of our personal data, precious photographs and videos, and are often connected to mobile wallets and financial information. It’s no longer enough to simply password protect our phones and hope for the best. Your phone should come encrypted from the start, like all iPhones, and a small percentage of androids. You should also rely on advanced security like Touch ID.
Apple’s iPhone 7 Plus comes encrypted and built with Touch ID to enhance security. Instead of relying on passwords that can be hacked without much difficulty, Touch ID relies on the use of your unique fingerprint to unlock your phone. Once you have it set up and ready to go, you can unlock your iPhone and make purchases with Touch ID from the iTunes store, iBooks, App store or Apple Pay among other apps. It’s easy and convenient to use but also relies on the unique features of your fingertip to make sure you’re in control of your phone.
Encrypt Your Texts
You probably already know something about email providers like Gmail encrypting your messages to keep you safe, but may not realize you can encrypt your texts too. Messaging apps like WhatsApp will take the texts on your phone and encrypt them. WhatsApp relies on end-to-end encryption technology so nobody in between you and the recipient can read it, including WhatsApp.
Think of encryption like a lock. Each message automatically carries a unique lock and key and can only be accessed by the sender and recipient. There’s also no way to turn off end-to-end encryption, so you get the added assurance your messages are safe.
Whether you’re using basic or advanced techniques to maintain your digital privacy, the important thing is staying consistent and diligent. Don’t ignore prompts to upgrade your operating systems, stay on top of your security features and password protection, and always be on the lookout for new ways to enhance your digital privacy. After all, if you’re not going to safeguard your own security, who will?
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