How the Bad Guys are Targeting You Online
It is no secret that hackers and other criminals are targeting personal data and the companies that store it. From major retailers like Target and Home Depot, to huge financial institutions like J.P. Morgan Chase, companies around the world have fallen victim to data breaches and the loss of vital account information.
If you spend any time online, hackers and thieves are targeting you. Knowing what methods they use is essential. Once you know how the bad guys are targeting you and your data, you will be better able to protect yourself and the information you share online.
Social Media Tracking
Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter make it easy to stay in touch with friends and family, but they also make it easy for the bad guys to contact you. With a single friend request, a stalker or thief can gain access to your daily routine and your private thoughts. Hackers can also use social media to guess the passwords and challenge questions they need to hijack your accounts and steal your personal data.
You can protect yourself by being more careful who you friend and follow on social media. Start by going through your accounts and looking for people you do not know personally. Thinning out your friend list can help keep you protected, as can being careful what you share on social media sites.
Watch Your Webcam
Having a hacker take over your webcam or IP camera puts much more than your data at risk. If a hacker, disgruntled partner or thief manages to figure out the IP address of your camera, they could watch every move you make, scope out your home for a future theft and otherwise wreak havoc in your life.
If you have any type of camera attached to the Internet, whether it is on your laptop or part of your security system, you need to take steps to protect it. Check the manual that came with your camera for instructions on setting up a password and disabling remote access. You can protect your webcam by turning off remote access on your computer and running regular scans for spyware and other malicious software.
Protect Your Home Phone Number
If a thief discovers your home phone number, a free reverse phone lookup will connect that number with your home address and personal information. The Internet is full of reverse phone number websites that allow people to enter a phone number and find names, home addresses and other vital information. If you want to see if you are at risk, type your phone number into Google. You might be surprised at what you find.
The best way to protect yourself is to avoid giving out your home phone number when posting classified ads or using the web. You can use your smartphone to request a one-time use number, then give that out instead. Buyers can still contact you, since the temporary number will go right to your smartphone, but your personal data will not be at risk.
Protecting yourself online will always be somewhat of a balancing act. One the one hand, you want the convenience that smartphones, webcams, IP cameras and social media can provide. On the other hand, you need to protect yourself from hackers and bad guys. Being aware of the risks is an important first step. Once you know how the bad guys think, you will be better able to protect yourself and your data.