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Five technical commands for a safer digital life

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Technology is always changing, and so is the way it is used. This means that we are always finding new ways to prevent bad actors from hiding our data.

Remember when you shared your address book with that stylish trendy app? Or when you posted photos on social media. All of these actions can have repercussions that undermine the security of our caregivers.

Vijay Balasubramanyan, CEO of Pindrop Security, which develops fraudulent phone detection technology, says we must always remember that any part of our identity that we post online can eventually be used by fraudsters to hijack our online accounts.

“Your digital identity, which consists of all your pictures, videos and audio, will allow hackers to create a complete person who looks like you without being in the picture,” he said.

Here are some tips to help you keep your passwords safe, minimize data shared by your phone’s camera, and keep your loved ones safe in the foreseeable future. I refer to them as the five technical commandments, hoping that you will remember them as if they were evangelical.

You should not use weak passwords

Let’s talk about poor password hygiene. According to a survey by the American research company Security.org, about 45% of Americans use weak passwords that have eight characters or less. (Last year, fourteen percent used “COVID” in their passwords.) Most Americans also admitted to using passwords again on different websites.

This opens the door to many security issues. Weak passwords can be easily guessed by planes trying to access your account. And if you use the same password for multiple sites, such as your bank account, Target Shopping Account, or Facebook, you just need to crack one of those sites to make all those accounts vulnerable.

The simplest solution for most people is a password manager, software that helps them automatically generate long, complex passwords for accounts. All passwords are stored in a folder that is accessible with a single master password. My favorite tool is 1Password, which costs $ 36 a year, but there are also free password managers like Bitwarden.

Another option is to have the passwords marked on a piece of paper that is stored in a safe place. Just make sure the passwords are long, complex, with a few letters, numbers, and special characters.

Use multifactorial identification

No matter how strong the password you create, hackers can only get it if they break into the company servers that contain your information. That’s why security experts recommend multi-factor authentication, also known as two-step verification.

Here is how two-factor identification works in general. Say, for example, that you enter your username և password for your online bank account. Step 1. The bank then sends a text message to your phone with a temporary code that must be punched before you can log in. Step 2. Thus, you prove your identity by entering your phone և that code.

You should not over-distribute

Many of us rely on our smartphones for our everyday cameras. But our smartphones collect a lot of information about us,: the camera can automatically record our location when we take a photo. This is more of a potential security risk than a benefit.

Let’s start with the positives. When you allow your camera to tag your location, photo management apps like Apple Photos և Google Photos can automatically sort photos into albums based on your location. This is useful when you are on vacation, you want to remember where you were when you took the photo.

But when traveling, tagging your location with photos is not a good idea. Let’s say you just connected with someone on a dating app and sent a message to a photo of your dog. If the post feature was turned on when you closed the photo, that person could analyze the data to see where you live.

Just to be safe, make sure the photo placement function is turned off by default.

– Open the “Settings” app on iPhones, select “Privacy”, then “Location Services”, and finally “Camera”. In the “Allow access” section, select “Never”.

– On Androids, tap the Settings icon inside the Camera app, which looks like an outfit. Scroll to Locations և switch off.

You should not share information about friends

This is a lesson we must learn again and again. It is generally not a good idea to provide information about your friends when using websites և apps, especially those of unknown brands.

For example, when you share your address book with an application, you may provide that company with all your contact names, phone numbers, home addresses, and email information. When you share your address book with the app to invite others to join, you are giving information to others, even if they choose not to accept the invitation.

Usually when you share your address book with the app, it aims to find other friends who also use the service. But the popular social networking program Clubhouse, which has become popular, has recently been criticized for its aggressive collection of address books.

When registering at Clubhouse, users may refuse to share their address book. But even if they did, the others in the app who uploaded their address books could see that these new users had joined the service. This was not ideal for people trying to avoid contact with violent ex or persecutors.

Stay skeptical

All security experts agreed on one rule. Do not trust anyone.

When you receive a letter from someone requesting your personal information, do not click on any link և Contact the sender to ask if the message is legitimate. Scammers can easily enter emails through malware և look like your bank, says Adam Kujavan, CEO of Malwarebytes Security.

In case of doubt, refuse to exchange data. Businesses and banks have experimented with fraud detection technologies that hear your voice to verify your identity. At some point you can even communicate with customer service representatives via video calls. Balasubramanian said that the most sophisticated scammers can eventually use the media you post online to create deep falsifications or computer-generated video or audio clips.

While this may sound alarming, as deep lies do not cause immediate concern, a healthy dose of pessimism will help us survive in the future.

“Think of all the different ways to leave a biometric identity in your online world,” he said.

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