Progress and dangers in a connected world

By Ion Vinaga Cyber security
07 Dec 2018 @ 02:48
1888

In just a few years we switched directly from searching for information on Google to rely entirely on it for maps, agendas and addresses, movies, entertainment, voice mail and phone calls. We post details of our personal life on Facebook and offer photos of friends, family, and colleagues to social networking. We download thousands of apps and rely on them for everyday activities, from bank account management to archiving photos with children. We connect to the internet via laptop, mobile phone, iPad HDTV and Apple TV.

The positive aspects of this technological development are visible. For example, in the last hundred years, rapid advances in medical science have increased the average life span more than twice, and infant mortality has become very low. Access to a high education, so difficult for many in the past, is free today thanks to many internet sites.

The interconnectivity that the Internet offers through its very basic architecture makes people from all continents to be brought together, as it has never happened before. This interconnection capability is one of the most powerful of the internet and as it grows, the strength and utility of the global network grow. So there are many reasons for joy in the modern technological world. But while the benefits of the online world are well documented and praised by high-tech industry, we must know that there is also the dark side of this interconnectivity.

Electricity supply networks, air traffic controllers, firefighting dispatching systems, or even elevator operation depend on computers.

In a world in which all systems and infrastructures are controlled by computers, it would be too easy to assume that the lack of technological security is simply a cybernetic problem. This is not just an IT problem. Technology is already part of the whole modern existence, and that means we have a social, personal, financial, medical, public security, transport, energy and even a privacy problem.

Innovation cannot be stopped, and technological change is growing faster and faster. But it is time that requires maximum attention from all to get out of the burden of technological threats today. By mobilizing both IT specialists and ordinary people, we can use our technology and devices to their maximum benefit.

Thus, when security is compromised in virtual space, users may have the most unpleasant consequences in a physical one: from stress created by inhibited computer work, to loss or violation of the integrity of personal data and materials (photos, videos, works of art), image damage and / or financial damage.

As we have seen, everything is connected and we are all vulnerable, but there are things we can do. Internet users who are aware of these risks adopt some measures that should be sufficient for good protection.

What could you do about it?

Here are some practical tips you can apply to protect yourself from the most common technological dangers.

Frequent updating

Modern software programs have many bags. To prevent malicious persons from using security breaches to enter computers or other devices, you must automatically update your operating system, computer programs, and applications. At the same time, pay special attention to browsers, media players, Flash and Adobe Acrobat. If you do not automatically update devices will be open to attacks, it can be avoided by simply updating the program.

Installing software

Download software only from official pages (such as virtual Apple Store or directly from the company's original page). In addition, avoid pirated media and software available on peer-to-peer networks that contain malware and viruses.

Windows and Mac operating system settings can help you create a "white list" in order to allow only approved software from known vendors to run on your devices.

At the same time, many online threats come in the form of requests to click on a specific link or to open the attachment of an e-mail. Others open up very annoying pop-ups that ask you to run an extraordinary security scanner or install a codec or player to help you viewing different content. Avoid responding to such requests. However, if you want to install such an application, make a check before (think that when you buy an online product, you are already familiarized about its qualities and performance). And if you need to install that software, try downloading it directly from the source and not from the third-party websites.

Uninstall applications you no longer need

This will make it easier to track applications that need to be upgraded, and will often allow a computer to perform tasks quickly (there are some common small applications and add-ons that are installed along with various software and which start with the computer, occupying its memory and affecting its performance).

 

Securing

Passwords must be long (considering 20 or more characters) and contain capital and small letters, as well as symbols and spaces. Of course you've heard this many times, but the power of the password is one of the key factors in protecting your accounts and it needs to be changed frequently. At the same time, you do not have to use the same password for several different sites. It is true that the mind of man cannot memorize dozens of long and different passwords for each account and website. But there are many password manager applications that make this process relatively simple.

It is also an additional safety measure to use the authentication methods in several steps (eg., password + token, password + SMS code, etc.).

Public Wi-Fi networks connection

Ideally it would be never to connect to Wi-Fi networks or public hot-spots. But if the situation requires it, once connected, do not access sensitive personal or professional accounts. Often, free connections are either compromised by cybercriminals who thus obtain the credentials of those connected to that network, or they are created just for that purpose.

Using an anti-virus programs

Despite the slogans promoted by some manufacturers, anti-virus programs do not provide 100% protection. They are effective or even very effective in identifying known malware, but their performance drops considerably when new malware samples appear.

However, it is important to have an installed anti-virus product. The anti-virus application should work as one of the protection layers of your computer. And whether it's a free or paid version, make sure you get all the updates timely and if is active on a permanent basis (in the absence of updates, an anti-virus program offers protection not much bigger than offering a playing cards or a drawing application).

Be careful with your personal data

Do not fill in emailed forms asking you for personal information, passwords, secret codes, or PINs. When it comes to sensitive data, public institutions, banks or big companies are more ... conservative and do not ask for them to be transmitted by an usual email. So, most likely, the message that tells you that your bank wants to update customer data and needs yours, including your bank card number, PIN and MyBanking account login password ... it's not from the bank.

Encryption

Encrypt your digital existence by protecting your data from your computer when you work and browse the internet. Encrypting your hard drive makes anyone else unable to read content if your device is stolen or lost. You should also encrypt your phone, because today's mobile devices can contain as much personal information as your laptop, if not even more.

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