I don’t know about you, but the past year has been a real wake up call for me about the importance of digital security. I used to think of hackers as bored teenagers showing off for their friends, or scammers sending viruses and spam to people by the millions. But today’s online outlaws are much more sophisticated.
Not content to just blast misleading links at us, elite hackers have started spear phishing. This is a tactic that sends an e-mail to an individual with unique, personalized information making it look very real, and convincing the user to click through to a website where they will enter their login credentials. Some hackers also use social engineering (not technology) to trick people into giving away critical information that can then be leveraged to compromise accounts.
Unfortunately, we need to worry not only about obviously sensitive information like bank accounts and work e-mails, even seemingly inconsequential accounts can be exploited to provide an opening. Once a hacker gains access to any of your accounts, be it iTunes, Etsy, or Pinterest, they can use that information to gain access to other services.
The threat to our privacy is real, and we have seen that there are people who may target us and access our data not just for commercial purposes but for political use. People and organizations that are working for social change have every reason to be concerned about how our personal information, organizational data, and private communications might be used.
Good security is a pain to implement, but every inconvenience for us is an even bigger hassle for a would-be hacker. Start now from wherever you are, and make incremental changes to improve your personal and organizational security.