Quiet Magazine Staff
81 percent of all cyber crime takes place in the winter, according to Fast Company. This means that for the next few months we are safe. Ranging from gramma’s credit card scams to more ludicrous criminal activities like identity theft, hacking has affected everyone. Making it worse, there are so many different types of hacking going around nowadays. Emails, key logging, phishing, even social engineering for Christs’ sake.
Here at Quiet Magazine, we appreciate our readers, and that is why we are giving you all the gifts that keep on giving: 3 Things We Do To Help Increase Our Cybersecurity.
- Public Data Mining
One of the biggest issues we see in our research is public data mining. Anytime a consumer signs up for a new app or gets a new technological device, that user is asked to consent to the terms of service (ToS). According to the Spotify ToS:
“We may collect information stored on your mobile device, such as contacts, photos, or media files”
Wow! Why in the world would Spotify need access to my media files. What about the contacts? According to Spotify, contacts and other permissions are needed in order to monitor and sensor information about your music, for instance, if the listener is walking or running. This problem can be simply fixed, however, by turning off contact and location permissions on your phone. Data mining can be a lot more detrimental than this, though. Remember: always read the terms of service.
2. Know Who’s Calling
Spam calls are one of the leading causes of elder scams. In this day and age, the schemes are becoming more elaborate than ever before. These types of scams date back to ones of the liking of The Nigerian Prince. The psychology behind it is a two part manipulation:
- The scammer needs something that they don’t have. (I.E.: Important documents, social security numbers, money)
- You have what they need.
There are several things that our staff here at Quiet Magazine do to help stay safe against this simple scam. Some of which include: phishing filters, scam filters, and proper preparedness. Phishing filters essentially plug directly into your email service providers. They add an extra level of security to the built-in one that we all have, the spam folder. The same thing is true of the scam filters, except they work simply for text messages and scam calls.
However useful these things may be, proper preparedness is the most important thing that we can have. Knowing when someone is manipulating us can feel scary, even humiliating, but nothing protects us better than knowing the enemy.
3. Password Protection
The original purpose and intent of a password was to keep user data safe. But in an interview with an anonymous school technology resource technician, Quiet Magazine learned:
“When you have a school such as *omitted* all the user data is monitored. Staff members prioritize safety from a potential threat over safety of the device user. There really is no way to get out of the middle. At *omitted* all the user data: passwords, accounts, websites, history, cookies, they are all stored in the same spreadsheet on a trifling encrypted network…”
Scenarios like this happen all too often in the world of corporate America. One minute it’s the local elementary school, next it’s 5 percent of all Fortune 500 companies. Security is not a priority in business, and user rights should not be jeopardized for personal preference. While there is no cure-all for this epidemic, there is medicine: don’t use the same password for multiple accounts, keep your passwords hidden, and never share them.
All in all, security is hard to come by, but in the coming months before winter, we suggest that everyone be prepared. With numerous hacks taking place every November through February, it is the civil duty of technology users to put those threats to rest.