I don’t enjoy talking about security. It’s a hassle because it 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.
My and your 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 and sold it to the highest bidder(s), and then made it vulnerable to others who just steal it and use/resell it for not-so-awesome purposes.
If I’m like anyone who might be reading this, I’m in some stage of working towards acceptance that cybercrime is just – crime. It’s here to stay.
cybercrime is just – crime. It’s here to stay.
Even if I’m not in denial anymore, have accepted my fate in this age of having my personal information floating around out there for anyone to exploit at any time it’s convenient for them, then I’m still probably not doing anything to prepare to respond to it. Odds are I’m not pro-actively protecting myself or my family and friends (let alone my organization) by assessing my risk or learning how to minimize it or be strategically prepared for some kind of response when something happens. Something is always going to happen.
Technology is hard for everyday people to understand but many of us will continue to willingly invite its complexity in. As we install more complexity we offload more privacy and with it unintentionally put the pace of positive social change at risk as it saunters along in lockstep with the unswerving punctuality of chance.
What can we do to minimize our hemorrhaging of more personal information? The tips that follow will be inconvenient for some, valuable for others. Privacy really shouldn’t be personal choice, though:
- 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 off 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
If you’re thinking, “Yeah, we shouldn’t have to do all this work!” I agree. Until apps and platforms are designed and built to value privacy and consent, however, the work is on each of us.