Digital Privacy in a Public World

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I was hacked, on March 28th, 2018 to be exact. It took 24 hours to figure it all out.  

Luckily There was no damage, just an intrusion. Apparently, the perpetrator didn't find what they were hoping for. It's happened to me only 3 times in 30 years. The most valuable result is it changed my security mindset. I when from big picture cyber security to a personal privacy perspective. You know when you're violated, you never quite feel secure again. In this case, you can benefit from my insecurities and paranoia.

I attribute my lack of privacy awareness and the apparent lack of success by the hacker to my posture as an open book. When you have nothing to hide, you pay little attention to the issue. In this edition of the Art of Digital Leverage, we will focus on how to protect your personal privacy. 

Preventing Intrusion

Investing in strong locks is the first step. Securing the keys to those locks is a close second. Strong digital keys are the passwords you assign to every online account. Yes, they are hard to remember, so don't even try.  I recommend investing in a password vault like LastPass. It gives you the flexibility to generate strong passwords, accesses them from all devices and changes them at a moments notice. With all your software tools in the cloud, securing each with a strong password is an essential first step to securing your apps and maintaining the privacy of your personal information.

The idea of a universal password you can use to access any of your apps sounds like a great idea until you realize it works like a master key. If it becomes compromised, all your apps are vulnerable. Use a password vault to create separate passwords for each account. 

Device Passcodes

The notion of using clear adhesive tape to lift your fingerprints sounds like something out of a spy novel, except that it works in the real world. Use the strongest passcode allowed by your device. Consider assigning completely different codes to different devices. Having to unlock your device multiple times a day (or hour) can be the pain. However, the pain of becoming a hacking victim can ruin your day, your week or your life. 

Social Media Security

Social is not secure. In fact, it was designed to invade your privacy, steal your identity and use it against you. It's not all bad. Turns out it's a great tool to spy on your friends, competitors and prospects. Social media is the first place marketers, bill collectors and your ex goes to learn everything about you. Let's start with Facebook check-ins. Each time you tap check-in you're sharing your location. Not just with your friends and not just in real time. It also becomes part of your permanent record. Depending on your privacy options, you could be sharing your past life with new friends or employers.   

Besides being a huge time-sink, Notifications is the second most abused privacy breach. Check your Facebook privacy setting. Are they set to show notifications even on a locked screen? What is the point of locking your phone, if anyone can read your communications?

To develop a healthy privacy posture, start thinking like a spy. Put on the hacker's black hat and see what you can discover about yourself, your world and your privacy. Just make sure you are sitting down when the information hits your screen. 


Not so sure about your privacy now? Call me to discuss a personal security audit. 904-5668325