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Are you in Danger of having your Digital Life Hacked | Web Security

Posted by Ronan Kavanagh on Mon, Jan 28th, 2013

Ask yourself, have you ever shopped, socialised, completed a transaction or signed up for any kind of an account online.  If like most people and you have any kind of online presence, the likelihood is that whatever the size and importance of your digital life, that it is indeed in danger of being hacked.

People use these online websites and resources to make their lives easier, to keep in contact with friends, pay bills on time and shop more conveniently.  However, every time you sign up for an online account, you are required to disclose information about yourself.  What many people may fail to realise is how this jeopardises their web security as companies may compile and use this information for advertising and promotional purposes, a lot of the time without us knowing it and there is no way of telling who will end up having access to our information and what they will use it for.  Because social networks, public records, and high-profile security breaches are so prevalent, a lot of potentially sensitive information is just floating around the Internet.  Anything you put out there in cyberspace is there forever and anything you think is secure might not be.

If you think of the security of your digital life as a vault, each piece of information you put online could be potentially used by cybercriminals as an additional digit to eventually crack your code.  We don’t throw everything out there at once in one place, most people would be vigilant enough not to post sensitive information such as birthdays, addresses, email addresses all to Facebook.  For example, you may not put your full birthday on Facebook, but it's not difficult for someone to find out what year you graduated from secondary school and put two and two together.  While you may not think you are sharing too much information, just a snippet here and there, but to a hacker you’re building an easily harvested profile.

As many people continue to plead ignorance and link accounts with the same passwords and email addresses, coupled with some websites using poor account recovery measure, for example, what one website may deem as valuable security information such as a birthday etc may be clearly visible on another website, soon all the pieces of the puzzle will fall into place and if a hacker eventually gains access to one of your accounts they could potentially gain access to them all in a domino effect from there, leaving you at least momentarily helpless.

 Online Security -How to Protect Yourself and Your Digital Life

Search for yourself - Before you start worrying, it may be a good start to get a handle on how much information about you is out there already by searching for yourself. Type your name into Google without and with relevant keywords, such as your address, phone number, email addresses, job title and company.  See what you find, and try to look at the information the way a hacker would.  Is there enough data there for someone to piece together your life? If so, you need to take steps to improve your personal security.

Update Frequently & Never Link – At TitanHQ we are constantly reminding people of the importance of updating their passwords and installing the latest versions of software frequently. Also try to avoid linking accounts as this provides easy chain access to one another if a hacker was to gain entry to just one.

Use two-factor authentication – Where possible use two-factor authentication.  TFA is an approach to authentication which requires the presentation of two or more of the three authentication factors:  a knowledge factor (something the user knows –Password, PIN) a possession factor (something the user has – ATM Card) and an inherence factor (something the user is – Fingerprint). 

Hard Back Up of Data – The cloud is continuing to build momentum and become more widely used but nothing has as much piece of mind as having all your important files backed up on a hard disk.  Expect the worst case scenario and make sure you have the most important documents backed up in case this worst case scenario becomes a reality.

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