A recent number of security breaches into powerful social media sites calls for a re-examination of online privacy.
As the number of start-ups continues to increase and as more programs and platforms are being built, the more people feel the need to continue signing up and getting on board in order to stay in the loop.
Despite the ability to log in to some of these sites using various social media APIs, many sites and networks still require that a separate account be made to log in.
In these past couple of months alone, I have noticed that I’ve been signing up for beta releases and trials more frequently than ever before.
I’ve also noticed that, in doing my best to keep up, I’ve become more apathetic to the concept of signing up. Only a couple of years ago, before this second major tech boom, I created accounts in a borderline religious manner. I would pick out a unique username to go along with an indecipherable password and make sure no one was watching me as I quickly typed in all of my “top secret” information. Back then, I was much more cautious about online security.
But now it’s different. Signing up has become a task that gets in the way of accessing a new feature or social networking site instantly. In order to get over this recurring and tedious process, it’s usually done as quickly and as painlessly as possible. Think of a word, meet the password criteria and confirm the information via e-mail.
However, with larger-scale hacks on the rise, from customer support software Zendesk’s breach which affected the likes of Pinterest, Tumblr and Twitter to, more recently, Evernote’s recent scare regarding suspicious activity on its network, it’s a sign that people need to be more careful about what they do online, who they interact with online and how much they reveal online.
In order to prepare for a worst-case scenario, there are a few tips that will help to protect sensitive information:
1. Create a unique password for every account you have. The best thing you can do in order to ensure that you won’t lose information is to create a different password for every single account. It sounds like a long process and frankly, it is, but in the long run, you’ll be much better off than the others who decide to ignore this valuable tip.
2. Change your passwords every six months. Even though all of your passwords are different, it never hurts to change them occasionally. By doing this, you have a better chance of surviving more latent hacks that go unnoticed.
3. Nonsense makes the best password. Though it’s been said that words infused with various numbers and symbols make great passwords, gibberish make for very effective passwords as well. Just as long as you remember what it is you wrote in the first place, of course.
4. Be aware and care more. Security is more important than ever before. If someone gets access to your personal e-mail, he or she has the ability to find where you work, who you associate with and most everything else about your life. Personal online information should be treated with the same amount of care and attentiveness you would put into keeping your banking information secure.
Maintaining and protecting our information may seem like a burdensome task, but in this hyper-digital age where anything goes, it’s better to be skeptical than vulnerable.