Last week Jeff Bedser, CEO of Princeton Internet Crimes Group (PICG), spoke at the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce’s July Membership Luncheon. Throughout his time with PICG, he’s seen it all. The mistake most people make, he said, is viewing the virtual world as fun, private and without consequences.
Ask yourself these questions: Do you post photos from your phone? Does your Facebook profile show that you’re married, and to whom? Do you tweet when you’re on vacation?
If you said yes to any of these, then you may be in danger of an attack. Take the following precautions before you update your status, tweet, instagram, pin, or whatever else you people do these days in the crazy expansive world of social media.
1. No geotagging. Geotagging often occurs on cell phones because they have global positioning software installed. Geotagging does not usually happen with digital cameras, so try to upload photos from a device other than your phone. You can disable the geotagging feature on your phone, but you may have to check it often, as updates often enable it without warning.
2. No personal information. Your name? Okay. But your address? Where you ate dinner last night via foursquare? Your birthday? Maybe not. Hackers can easily guess the answers to security questions through the information that you’ve publicly posted.
3. Create obscure passwords. It may be super annoying to sift through a messy stack of papers until you find ‘FjF#!jklowI128’ written on a notepad, but a complex password will deter hackers from working their black magic on your account.
4. Lie. When accounts require answers for personal questions, such as your address, simply lie. Create fake information when possible to maximize security.
5. Use a fake name. When purchasing and setting up a new computer, tablet, smart phone or wireless router, name it something other than, well, your name. Once again, the more ambiguous, the better. Bedser says that the device’s identity is tagged in meta-data, which is then attached to things like pictures and documents.
6. Delete all spam. DO NOT OPEN IT. By simply opening an email your computer or network could be at risk. Play it safe, and if you sense something fishy, just delete it.
7. Use anti-virus programs and update regularly. Self explanatory.
8. Do not connect to unsecured wireless networks. Mooching off of a wireless hotspot during your layover is mighty tempting, but resist. Hackers can access your personal information if you use their network.
9. Never send personal information via email, even if the sender looks legitimate. This is a common online scam that can come across as totally official. Hackers will copy bank statement letterheads and logos to trick online users into verifying information like social security numbers and addresses.
10. “If your children are on Facebook, you should be on Facebook.” Watch out for your kids and create acceptable use policies for your family. Keep security measures in check and don’t be too prideful to ask for help when you feel over your head.
Did you attend our July Membership Luncheon? If so, what did you think? Do you feel like you got a lot out of it? What would you like to see at lunches in the future?