The internet is the new marketplace. For many, it’s become a place to socialize, make new business connections, and perform routine tasks like shopping for groceries. As the internet morphs into a global marketplace your data is increasingly at risk of being hacked by thieves who live near and far.
Three Most Common Cyber Attacks
Pretexting refers to a hacker sending you a “fabricated lie”. Hackers will present victims with false scenarios that include fake notices that you are in trouble with the CRA, IRS, or even the HR department where you work. These cyber hackers will pretend to know all about your business and will send you messages asking you to send them information such as your social insurance number, banking information, or credit card data.
Phishing is when hackers create fake websites that look like real websites. Cyber hackers lure their victims to these fake websites and get them to enter their personal data including email passcodes and credit card information. If you think you are on a suspicious site, hoover your mouse over the URL – this will show you the right website address.
If you find a thumb drive on the street – don’t pick it up and don’t put it into your computer.
To protect your computer, it’s important to keep your device’s software up to date. New weaknesses are discovered in software all the time. Cybercriminals target computers with software update weaknesses. Keeping your software up-to-date will create cyber patches and will lower and or even possibly eliminate a hacker’s access to your data.
Passcode Security Tips
Don’t use the same password for different accounts. Don’t use predictable words in passcodes. Instead, use two-step authentication processes whenever possible. As well, use a password holder (digital or physical). I prefer paper. Make your primary email login the most secure passcode of all. In some scenarios use a security key (e.g. Google Titan Key).
Browsers and Cyber Security
The Brave Browser
The Brave provides a safe internet surfing experience without being tracked. Brave will even pay you revenue for using it. Brave provides data on trackers and ads blocked each time you use it. So, it’s great for using daily.
Tor is the only browser you can use and be totally secret. It’s also a free and secure browser that uses multiple layers of encryption to hide the identity of users. Tor can be used to bypass firewalls, including those used by governments that restrict the internet. As well, Tor can be slower as it uses several layers of encryption, it is significantly slower than most other browsers.
Protonmail is an email service. It provides a range of subscription options including free and a paid subscription for more features. Protonmail also allows end-to-end encryption, even when you send to non-protonmail receivers, and vice versa. When signing up, users don’t have to list much (or any) personal information. Protomail also does not track your IP address.
Telegram is the largest alternative secure messaging app on the market. It allows up to 200,000 people to be in a chat group and users can use it to send large files. Telegram offers end-to-end encrypted messages but only between two people if they enable the “Private” setting. 500,000,000 new users have signed up for Telegram in 2021.
Is the most secure texting platform. While you can have 100,000 in a Signal chat, Telegram has more features. Signal has a feature that can prevent your messages from being save in a screenshot (Same as Snapchat). Signal’s messages auto-delete for security too.
Elaine Allan, BA, MBA
Technology & Business Blogger
Vancouver, BC, Canada