Today’s practice: Tighten your online security.
You’d think that writing a dissertation about political computer hacking would make a girl sensitive to the challenges of online security. And it has, up to a point. But I recently decided to up my level of tech security, and in the process discovered some handy new tools that make good security easier to achieve.
- You work with sensitive data (like health, legal or financial records)
- You are a public figure or work with/for a public figure
- You have a current or past relationship with someone who has harassed or stalked you on- or offline
- You have a friend or family member who has been harassed or stalked
- You work in or with organizations and countries where cyber-surveillance or hacking is common (like China, Russia and Iran)
- You or someone in your household has been a victim of identity theft at any time
- Install anti-malware software to catch any spyware on your computer and prevent future intrusions. Quick pick: Norton Internet Security 2012 for Windows. DO THIS BEFORE YOU DO ANYTHING ELSE.
- Use a strong password. Test its strength using http://howsecureismypassword.net/ and don’t use any password that can be hacked in less than a year.
- Setup phone verification for your e-mail account, like Gmail’s two-step verification.
- If your email account is linked to a second, recovery account, make sure it’s secure too — otherwise anyone who has access to that recovery account can get access to your primary account.
- If someone else has ever had access to your phone, wipe it and reinstall your software from your computer. Only install applications you know and use; it’s possible someone else has installed an application that is spyware.