Finally, summer is here.
The heat, towels and swimsuits take centre stage and vacation starts.
We take it easy. We have more time, longer days and we enjoy ourselves more.
We take it easy and that’s good, but …are we taking it easy in every sense?
I remember my childhood plagued by hearing “Be careful!” so much that we couldn’t even see that we were on vacation, with the shutters halfway up, someone to pick up the mail, … you had to make it difficult for thieves and not leave any clues.
Nowadays, everything is much easier. It’s true, our lives are easier, but so are those of thieves and criminals. They don’t even need to go anywhere at all. The internet offers many advantages and opportunities to do good … and to do harm.
A sea of information at your feet, you just have to know how to look for it. Social networks offer a quick way to reach our lives, to get lots of information about us in just a few clicks!
You get an idea of how much information people share without knowing who they are sharing it with just because they haven’t configured their profile properly or because it is unclear how “privacy” works.
Have you stopped to think, how much time would we need to know where and when a person is on vacation? How much information can I get to know about someone easily, simply by seeing what they share on social networks?
Also, not only is there information you share, but also that shared by your friends, family, colleagues, etc. Just think: when was the last time you were tagged or someone made a comment about you?
Make no mistake…it’s not complicated. It does not take a high level of technical sophistication to follow your digital fingerprint, to view the geolocation of your photos or comments. And the question is, do you really want that information to stay saved forever? Are you really sure that you are the only person who can see it?
When you work in cyber security, in many cases friends, acquaintances and family members use you to be assured of their lack of concern for their security. Oh, the times I’ve heard, “who’s going to care about my life!” or, “Why should I care, I’ve got nothing to hide! With the kinds of people around, who’s going to go after me?!”
This is not going to make people afraid, it is not going to stop people from using social networks, and it is not going to stop people from sharing. No, that’s not the idea.
This comes from the idea that we have to be aware of what we do, that we need to know what is going on behind the scenes, that we must worry and deal with the information and opinions that we give on the internet, the window that we leave open to our lives. We must review the privacy of our social networks, the settings for the geolocation of our posts, our camera settings, only accept contacts from people we know or trust. We must be cautious, just as we are when we cross a street, we look for the zebra crossing and we watch to see if cars are coming.
Or to go further, let us consider, how much is all that information worth to others that we give away and give no importance to?
We need to control our digital life, our digital fingerprint, our information. Protecting our privacy is important because our privacy is part of us.
We must be concerned with understanding how the tools we use to educate our children in how to act and protect themselves in this digital world work. I would like our digital children to remember, as I remember now,
…that during summer, I was told that there was no need to give out cyberclues; it should be difficult for thieves.
Thinking about the end purpose that it will have, its end use, the millions of “digital fingerprints” that we are all creating every moment, is dizzying. Human beings minimize risks; it is true that we need to do this in order to live… but are we able to live peacefully? Is the information we generate safe?
Maybe this is too metaphysical for summertime, we’ll leave it for another time.
Now to enjoy, but with a few small cyber security tips, because the bad ones are not always on vacation:
Cyber security tips for this summer
- Be careful with the information you post on the Internet.
- Remove the geolocation option for your publications in social networks.
- Configure your devices so photos do not contain geolocation information.
- Review your privacy settings and contacts on your social networks.
- Your privacy needs to be important to you before anyone else. If you do not want your photos uploaded or tagged, let people know!
- Turn off WiFi and Bluetooth when they are not being used.
- Be wary of WiFi networks you connect to. Sometimes free data can be quite expensive.
- Check permissions the “app” requests when installed on your devices “with cautious eyes”. Having a good rating does not mean that it is safe. Use common sense: a flashlight does not need full access to your device!
- Do not perform sensitive Internet operations on websites other than https://
- Block your devices with a password, it is not difficult which is not difficult to forget or steal.
- Beware of phishing! It is not hard to imitate/copy any website. Do not click on links or enter passwords derived from unusual requests.