Data Breaching and Hacking Preventions

Recently,  number of cases of getting Credit card or bank account hacked has grown too much. So, probably this is a great time to talk a little bit about Cyber security.

I think, like a lot of people, I used to use a couple of passwords across all of my sites, whether that would be for Facebook account or for my bank account.

However, there are some Password Vault services, with them you can easily create completely custom and random passwords for each and every individual site and keep them all locked up behind a single password.

So, even if one site gets hacked, none of the rest of your logins are going to be vulnerable and some of those services are available for free too. Like LastPass.

And if you spend some money on those, to purchase premium account, you can get better security and many advance options to manage those saved credentials.

Best thing about it is that, it works basically across all of your different devices, whether it be phone, tablet, computer, whatever.

When it comes to getting hacked, there are a lot of ways that it can happen. So, may be it is something simple like you open a fishy email attachment, you are visiting a site that you probably shouldn’t be looking at.

Recently though, these hacks have become much, much more ambitious. So, take for example Equifax. It is the credit agency that recently had 143 million people’s information leaked.

And this is not small stuff, like your phone number or address, this is really important information, like your Social security number, which make it very very easy for identity theft to happen.

So, back in March, a major vulnerability was found in Equifax’s backend and itt was not fixed until the end of July, meaning that for months about one-third of the US population’s information was wide open for the taking.

This is hardly an isolated incident. So, only a few weeks after the Equifax hack, CCleaner had their own issues. So, CCleaner is a very popular utility to allow you to clean your computer.

However, for a short time, the legitimate version was replaced that you downloaded from their site with a version that was loaded with Malware.

The scary part of this is that there was actually no real way of telling that you were downloading was actually Malware and not the proper program. You are going to the official site, you are downloading it, installing it, everything looks completely legit and the program even works.

However, in the background was a serious virus. So, the popular DVD ripping tool “HandBrake” had a very similar thing happen. For a period of four days, the legitimate download was replaced with a version that had a Mac-specific version of Malware inside of it.

Even worse is that hacks are no longer confined to just software; they are hitting close to home, literally. With products like Amazon Echo and Google Home being brought into more and more households, these companies are getting closer and closer to our personal lives than ever before.

Now, this can be a good thing. So, it is nice to be able to walk into your house and tell Alexa to turn the lights on. Maybe it you forget to lock your door, when you leave, you can just do it straight from your phone with a smart lock.

And stuff like Nest security cameras will give you a much better sense of security, when you can see exactly what is going on inside your house. But like all good things in life, it doesn’t exactly work all the time.

And like a lot of people fear when stuff like the Amazon Echo first came out, there is a way to hack this now. If you peel back the little rubber pad on the bottom of an Amazon Echo, you will see a series of contacts.

So, using these, if you have a little bit of technical knowledge and about 10 minutes, you can actually turn an Amazon Echo into a listening device.

The upside is as long as you don’t have a super nerd as an enemy, this is not an easy hack to pull off. Not only do you need that technical knowledge, but you also need to have actual access to the Echo in hand.

And to Amazon’s credit, they actually have removed this vulnerability from the most recent model. The real issue here is when there is an Echo in a public place.

So, take for example, a Five star Hotel, where they hae an Echo in every single room, and all it takes is for someone to hacks it once and they can listen in to the conversations in that room pretty much forever.

All right,

So, what can you actually do about this?

Well, the first thing to understand is that there is no way of keeping you and your data completely safe. If you applied for a credit card five years ago, and the credit agency gets hacked, too bad.

You are probably never going to know how your credit card got compromised. It could have been something simple like being skimmed at an ATM or gas station or may be some site that you used the card on was hacked and you just didn’t know it.

But there are some things you can do to help protect yourself. The easiest thing is to just check your credit. So, you should request for credit reports from your bank or finance company.

On the digital front, it makes sense to have some kind of antivirus and keep your devices up to date. So, that includes those Windows updates that you have been saying no to, for the last six months or you keep your browser up to date, your phone.

All of these things are constantly getting security updates and they can really save you when these things come up. Threats like this are never going to go away. But as long as you are smart and keep an eye on things, then you should be fine.

So, have you actually ever gotten hacked yourself? Let me know in the comments below.

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