Wednesday, August 15, 2012

INTERNET - Guarding Personal Information

"A Perilous Cyber World: Guarding Personal Information from Hackers and Thieves" PBS Newshour 8/14/2012


JEFFREY BROWN (Newshour): And we begin an occasional series about the way we live ever more of our lives online in the digital age, and some of the risks and rewards connected with this evolution.

In coming segments, we will discuss the connections and disconnections of online life, the differences between engaging online and in the physical world, and what does it mean exactly when a video go viral.

We begin with a look at just how much of us, our identities, are online, and how vulnerable that can make us.

Mat Honan learned this firsthand recently when he was hacked and lost control of his phone, email and personal computer. He told the tale in "Wired" magazine, where he's a technology writer.

Also joining us is Peter Pachal, who watches this world closely as the technology editor for the Web site Mashable.

As a long-time computer & IT professional, my advice for Laptop and Desktop PCs:

  • The HIGHEST security is NOT to be online unless you need to be, this includes turning off your system when you are not using it
  • Passwords - The old advice about NOT using any part of your name or your wife's or children's, even your pets', applies
  • Passwords - Do NOT use any part of an address where you have lived, worked, or gone to school
  • Passwords - Do NOT use your nickname(s)
  • Passwords - Do NOT use birthday dates; yours nor your family's (not even if you reverse or scramble, more later)
  • Passwords - DO have one Master Password that is for very limited use, examples: system Administrator Account (NEVER have a blank password for Administrator), access to a password management tool you use, access to your ISP or eMail providers
  • ALWAYS, always run a good Antivirus Utility (and "free" antivirus utilities are NOT good), one that includes protection against Root-Tool-Kit, Trojans, etc, and KEEP THE DEFINITIONS UP-TO-DATE
Here's the 'more later': If you've seen the move "True Lies" with Arnold Schwarzenegger, there is a scene where one member of the 3-man team (the computer geek) has to hack into information stolen from a target's hard drive. Arny and the other member walk away making a comment that they will come back much later. They are only 5 paces away when the geek says he's in. The password was the target's wife's birth-month, the son's birth-year in reverse, and the daughter's birth-day (or something like that). This is what hackers can do with information that is just out there on record.