With every improvement on our modern technologies, we become more interconnected, sophisticated and thereby vulnerable.
Just as an example, according to research, hackers have a 95% success rate of hacking our computers or networks (of which 75% can be hacked within just one hour). Today’s security software is therefore only 5% effective.
According to Moore’s Law, the world will soon see the maturation of the Internet, the dawn of the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, and Advanced Robotics. There is an information and technological revolution eminent.
These new technologies will drastically change the world very soon, and it’s time for people to recognize the potentials threats that we’re facing and take serious measures to lessen them.
Our technological foundations are simply not yet secured.
There are things we can do to mitigate our own personal risks, and together, keep our societies from collapse or falling under the rule of oppressors in the future.
Today, identity theft is a booming industry for criminals. Big Data collects vast amounts of information on us through social media, and the data is virtually guaranteed to leak.
Incidentally, many social media and other ‘freemium’ software products are nothing more than Big Data collection vestibules – just as cigarettes are a way to dispense nicotine.
Your phone has become a tracking and surveillance device, and a primary information source for Data Brokers to learn more about you. Honestly, why would a simple flash app require access to your location and contacts? The answer is that Data Brokerages sell your data, indiscriminately, to third parties.
In the future, even biometrics such as voice recognition, DNA sequence coding and synthetic biology will create information banks privy to hackers and criminals.
These criminals, ‘Crime Inc.’, work in an organized fashion, using latest lean startup best-practices, and leveraging the scalability of the Internet – and soon, the Internet of things.
The extent of their maladies worldwide is sickening. Everything from identity theft, distribution and creation of child pornography, assassins for hire, selling of weapons of mass destruction and terrorism.
In order for us to ensure our safety, we must become aware of the dangers before a catastrophic event forces us to take action.
To be fair, great work is already being done by legislators and the private industry around the world to address these issues. But it is up to the masses to demand these changes.
Public cyber security and safety is a lot like public health, and it, too, needs a World Health Organization. After all, prevention is a lot easier than trying to cure ailments after the fact.
Before salvation comes, however, here is a list of guidelines that can help eliminate 85% of cyber risks:
- Always update software and operating systems.
- Change passwords often.
- Use different passwords for different websites.
- Use well-known password managers (like 1password, Last Pass, etc.).
- Use two-factor authentication.
- Download software directly from official sites (ie. Apple’s App Store or a company’s own website).
- Avoid pirated material and software available from peer-to-peer networks.
- Avoid “free” apps and software.
- Always create a user account with limited privileges on your computer for use in daily activities. Only use your administrator accounts when necessary.
- Turn off your computer when you aren’t using it.
- Turn off services and connections (Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, NFC, etc.) on your smartphone when not in use.
- Encrypt your files on your computer (Bit locker on PCs, and FileVault on Macs)
- Use virtual private network (VPN)
- Always use a password on your smart phone.
- Use biometric security features (ie. fingerprint).
- Use common sense with all your email correspondence.
- Be weary of all email links and attachments.
- Do connect with USB thumb drives, hard drives, or smart phones from strangers.
- Back up your data frequently (Time Machine on Macs or Backup for PCs)
- Use cloud service providers (such as Carbonite, Backblaze or Spider Oak) – but make sure to encrypt your files first.
- Always have multiple backups of your data, including physical drives located off-site.
- When any connected camera is not in use, cover up the lens.
- Do online shopping and banking on a device that belongs to you, and on a network you trust.
- Share information or images on social networks cautiously.
- Use your operating system’s built-in firewall.
- Enable ‘stealth mode’.
I have a few personal ones I would add to this list, from a more philosophical point of view:
- Don’t lie.
- Don’t cheat.
- Don’t steal.
- Don’t hoard.
- Be kind to others.
- Don’t place undue value unto material things.
- Don’t forget to enjoy life.
No one knows what the future will bring, but hopefully we will enjoy the journey safely, together.