Winn Schwartau breaks it down via Skype followed up with a post by John from AutoSec Tools. John took the time to write a 450 word post on ways in which you can protect your privacy online.
John, AutoSec Tools: At this point in time the grip of technology is inescapable. Regardless of the degree to which you utilize the Internet, or even if you completely abstain from the use of computers, your most personal information is undoubtedly being transmitted over a wire by a plethora of different organizations and people on a regular basis. This is occurring for reasons you may never have anticipated. Perhaps you purchased dinner using a debit card and the terminal you used to swipe your card sent the data over the Internet for verification, or maybe Facebook created a shadow profile of you when a friend synchronized their account with the contact list in their phone.
That said, many of us do make frequent use of computers and the Internet. Technology is, after all, so incredibly prolific for a reason: when functioning as intended, it affords us conveniences that ease the strain of day to day life. Problems arise when these technologies are leveraged by those with malicious intent. Sometimes the culprits are hackers acting as individuals, or on behalf of organized crime. They might be employees of the companies we trust, or even members of intelligence agencies working on behalf of a nation. The point is that in the past couple decades, the threatscape has greatly diversified.Unfortunately in many instances nothing can be done to avoid being compromised. For example, if a bank fails to adequately harden their systems and an attacker manages to gain access to your account as a result, there’s little you can do except aid the bank in cleaning up the mess. However, we are not completely defenseless; employing a few simple countermeasures can greatly reduce the chances of compromise.
Think carefully before you act
This cannot be stressed enough. Most attacks actually require some action on part of the targeted user, whether it be something as simple as clicking on a link or entering a credit card number. To increase their chances of success, attackers often employ what is called social engineering, a form of manipulation used to convince a person to perform an action or reveal information. This usually, but not always, is encountered in the form of phishing. An attacker may pose as a lost relative asking for assistance, or a financial establishment that needs bank account information.If you have any doubts about the validity of an email or website, do not click any links or enter any information. While it is far from foolproof, Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Firefox all offer phishing protection. Also, email services such as Gmail provide notifications when an email might not be coming from the sender it claims to be from.Be cautious on social networking sites
As you may have discovered through the proliferation of fake accounts, scammers love social networking sites. Be cautious of who you befriend on such sites. Look for telltale signs of fake accounts, such as sparsely populated profiles containing off-site links and blurbs about get rich quick schemes. Befriending the wrong account can easily lead to your own account being hacked and used to spam your friends. Also, lock down your profile using privacy features, and don’t share any unnecessary personal information. If an attacker is targeting you specifically, one of the first things they might do is gather personal information from your social networking pages.
Keep your software up to date
Software vulnerabilities are discovered daily, and hackers have absolutely no issue with leveraging them for their ends. Keeping all of the software you use up to date will prevent many of the attacks that occur on the Internet. This is especially important for your operating system. If new OS updates are available, install them immediately.
Awareness is the key to fending off the looming electronic threats around us. This list is by no mean comprehensive and is only meant to aid in the never-ending learning process. The more you understand about the methods and techniques of attackers, the less likely you are to fall victim to their schemes. John, AutoSec Tools