Friday 1 March 2013

Massive world-wide information leaks. What are you gonna do about it?

New reports say that a hacker group is stealing upwards of 1 Terabyte of data from governments and businesses every single day. This is not the work of 17 year-old techies in their mom’s flat, this is industrial hacking and it’s state-sponsored.

Holy crap.

As much as we like to believe that our governments and corporate leaders are smart and well prepared, they aren’t. 1 TB per day isn’t a leak, it’s Victoria Falls.

Even more recently, U.S.-based security firm Mandiant told The New York Times that state-sponsored groups in China may have the ability to bring down power grids, water systems, and oil pipelines.

Yep, the cyber-apocalypse is coming. What are you gonna do about it?

First of all, while all this seems pretty scary (and it is), this is not the time to dig a bomb shelter and start hording bottled water and canned food. It is, however, the time to take charge of your data.

Strong Passwords: Guess what, using the same password, no matter how good, for everything is dumb. All it takes is one data dump from one crappy server to unlock your bank, email, Facebook, everything. Use different passwords for every site and keep them organized with a program like 1Password. Honestly, security aside, programs like this are free and will make your life so much better.

Anti-Virus: Malware is the nasty stuff on your computer taking up memory and stealing your login credentials. Anti-virus programs won’t stop zero-day attacks, but they’re certainly a big step in the right direction.

Encrypt, Encrypt, Encrypt: Seriously people. Using that wifi network at the coffee shop? Guess what? A chimpanzee could figure out how to steal your data. It’s really that easy. USE A VPN.

Don’t be Stupid: We have a tendency to check out mentally when we’re casually surfing the web, but in today’s environment, keeping your wits about you will keep you safe. Is someone asking for your password? Do you trust these guys with your credit card? Think about what information you’re giving out, then ask yourself if you trust the receiver. If an offer is too good to be true, it probably is.

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