There is a special kind of security threat that catches the headlines—the huge data breach, or the malware that hijacks the computer for a ransom—but it’s also necessary to keep the guard up against some of the lesser-known assaults out there too.
These warnings may not have the same high-level profile as an unfixable iOS bug, but they can still do some critical damage as far as your data and isolation go. Here’s what to look out for, and how to make certain you aren’t caught out.
In this fast-paced, hyper-connected age, it’s all too easy to forget about all the social media, language-learning, job-finding apps, and sites that we’ve downloaded and used. But every account you leave behind gathering dust is another one that could potentially be hacked into.
As we’ve previously explained in detail, it’s necessary to take the time to shut down these accounts, preferably than just uninstalling the associated app from our phones and then skipping about them. If any of them should then undergo a data breach, for instance, the data won’t be included if you have scrubbed the account.
Doubting Browser Extensions
The right browser extensions can combine useful functions and features to your daily window on the network. Still, these add-ons require to be vetted like any other part of the software—after all, they have the privilege of being able to see everything they are doing online if they want to.
Choose the wrong extension, and you could find it selling your browsing data, attacking you with pop-up advertising, or installing extra software that you don’t require. We’d recommend keeping the number of browser extensions you have established down to a minimum and sticking only with the extensions you know and guarantee.
Fake Online Quizzes
You have probably seen friends and family take quizzes on Facebook to find out which Hogwarts house they would get into, or which celebrity they are most like, and so on. They may seem like inoffensive fun—and some are—but they can also be utilized to harvest personal data that you don’t realize you are giving away.
These quizzes can and have been applied to build up more detailed profiles of personalities and their friends, getting not just the answers to the quizzes themselves but also other information obtained in the linked Facebook accounts. Note too how often these fun quizzes request for personal data, like the first road you lived on or the name of your pets, which could be used to represent you in some way.
Broken Photo Uploads
There’s nothing incorrect with posting photos to your favorite social channels but think twice about the data that other people can glean from any photos you make public—particularly the places where you might live and serve.
While a lot of apps, like Facebook, and Instagram automatically strip out the location data stored with photos, some, like Google Photos, can keep this data embedded in the repository after it’s been shared. Plus, whether you keep the original position data with the image, an associated check-in on social media can combine the location right back in.
Smart Home Prying
Our houses are getting smarter, which gives hackers and malware peddlers a whole new set of tools to try and target—the result could be doors that don’t stay secured or home security camera footage that’s viewed by more characters than you’d like.
Keeping your smart home safe starts with what you buy: It’s a good idea to stick to well-known, authenticated brands with a strong track record in hardware, as much as conceivable. After that, make certain both your smart home devices and your router—which plays as a gateway to them all—are kept up to date with the most advanced software. Most popular intelligent home appliances do this automatically, another good reason to stick with brands you account.