Posted on | May 13, 2013 | 1 comment
(Editor’s note: David Gorodyansky, @AnchorFreeDavid, is co-founder and CEO of AnchorFree, supplier of Hotspot Shield, a virtual private network for consumers. In this guest essay, Gorodyansky outlines security and privacy strategies that can be helpful.)
There’s no foolproof way to protect your data and identity from theft 100 percent. But at least give yourself a fighting chance – and some peace of mind – by following a few wise practices:
Password vigilance. We now live in a world where weak passwords provide all the protection of a cuddly kitten. And even though the strongest of passwords is no match for a determined hacker, why make it easy for them? It’s no secret that the most common passwords are “password” and “123456″. If that’s yours, time to make a change. Now.
To create strong passwords combine letters, numbers, caps and symbols; substitute numbers for letters. Don’t answer security questions with the real answer. And store your passwords and security answers in a secure data locker such as Keeper or LastPass so you’ll remember them as well as keep them safe. The old-school method of jotting them down on a sheet of paper and storing it in a safe place can work too.
Two-factor authentication. The truth is, strong passwords offer only limited protection against hackers. We will probably see more and more companies moving to two-factor or multi-factor authentication, similar to your experience at an ATM where you need both a physical card and your PIN to access your account.
Because it ties security to a physical object in your possession, such as your mobile phone, card or keyfob, two-factor authentication creates a higher barrier for hackers to overcome, drastically reducing the chances of having your personal information compromised.
Kudos to Evernote for sharing plans to add two-factor authentication to its login process following the massive hack experienced by the company last week. We can expect to see other tech giants stepping up and taking a cue from this move before they endure the same public humiliation. And as a consumer of these services, you should demand stepped up security measures
Encryption. For years, antivirus was the gold standard when it came to protecting your device against hackers. But now that we’ve taken our work and play into the cloud – not to mention shifted to 24/7 mobile access – antivirus is no longer enough to protect us against the increasingly advanced techniques of seasoned hackers.
With the shift to the cloud and heavy public Wi-Fi usage, it’s time we shift our thinking beyond antivirus to secure not only the device, but all our online interactions and browsing behaviors. Cloud security, VPNs and other encryption mechanisms have been used routinely in corporate environments to protect against threats, but are relatively new to consumers. Once the channels to the cloud are secured, our internet communications will be far less risky.