New, More Effective Digital Security Strategies

Advice for preventing unauthorized access to your most personal accounts.

Hackers often share information about new strategies against digital crime. This article focuses on their most recent advice for preventing unauthorized access to your bank accounts, credit cards, personal emails, passwords, wireless and social media accounts.

High-profile personalities and organizations have had a hard time defending against new generation malware that burrows into private files, tracking keystrokes and hijacking streaming video from webcams. One sobering example–ransomware has successfully targeted both private and public organizations. A ransomware hacker first hijacks an organization’s or individual’s internal systems or computer. Then a message is sent to the target demanding a ransom be paid to regain access.

Conventional Strategies

The basics are easy enough: use strong passwords, encrypt, enable two-factor authentication, avoid clicking on any strange looking link in your email, etc.

New Strategies for Your Digital Security

To improve your security, implement the strategies listed below. I say ‘improve,’ because, ultimately any account is hackable.Just don’t make it easy for them. As we know, some household-name corporations and major retailers have been unbelievably slack in this area.

  • Download a password manager. If you use 1Password, Dashlane or LastPass all your passwords are stored in a vault. This adds a helpful protective barrier though a tenacious, skilled hacker can often get past it.
  • Use full disk encryption on your laptop, especially important if your computer is lost or stolen.
  • Subscribe to a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to reduce your wifi vulnerability. For example, VPN Unlimited costs only about $4.00 a month–an absolute necessity for folks who spend a lot of time in hotels or Starbucks
  • Double check to make sure an email link matches the URL you’re trying to visit(Just hover over it to confirm).
  • Consider downloading Little Snitch, an app that monitors your computer for unrequested, questionable outgoing connections. It will alert you every time your computer tries to send data to an unknown server.
  • Take steps to replace your 4-digit numerical smartphone access code with a longer, more complex PIN.
  • Call your major digital service providers and phone company to make sure they never give anyone access to your account details without your PIN or password. This is necessary because of an increasing number of ‘social engineering’ hacks that exploit human weaknesses in the security process (e.g., overly helpful customer service reps).
  • Make sure your social media accounts are private. Posted social media photos, for example, are a treasure trove for serious hackers who want access to your personal information.
  • Give fake answers to security questions. It’s just way too easy to find information online about your mother’s maiden name, etc.
  • Turn off wi-fi and Bluetooth on your phone when you leave the house to save your battery and help protect your privacy.

Most of us hope we are obscure enough to be low level targets for hackers.But why take the risk of assuming predators will never cull you out from the herd?