Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Protect your Online Data

Every day there are new stories about cyber attacks and surveillance systems of information by public authorities or companies more or less credible. And what have you done to protect your data? The question arises with increasing priority, even for those who already knew the data easily shared through email, social networks and cloud services could be spied with some ease, and there is no 100% secure system.

The revelations of Edward Snowden on the PRISM system and extent of surveillance mounted by the NSA continue to fill the pages of newspapers and no one seems to be safe. Or at least none that use electronic communications. Recommendations for the use of data encryption and secure systems swell up and yesterday the European security agency (ENISA) released a report that discusses the forms of data protection through encryption, while recognizing that this is only one element of a larger puzzle for the preservation of sensitive and confidential information. The report, fairly technical, displays a range of measures to implement, but is directed more to technical and governmental organisations than to individual users, who are usually the weakest link in this chain security.

Everything we do through electronic equipment leaves a digital footprint, and you must be well aware of this reality to better understand what information we want to protect and how to do it. It is not just the basic advice to use stronger passwords, use firewalls and antivirus systems, or the recommendation not to publish information on social networks that will be on vacation - and away from home - because it can become an invitation to burglars. There are easy ways to go further and protect the data to at least make life difficult for those who want to read the emails or access your files. And it is not even necessary to have great technical knowledge to do so.

It is not worth thinking about the email as a totally safe and secure, especially if it relies on systems free email and webmail. Many companies now choose to cipher systems of emails and this is a procedure that is likely to be strengthened, but if you want to use services like Gmail and Outlook, or other webmail providers, note that the sharing and encrypt your documents before send them as attachments.
Edward himself Snowden ensured that encryption works as a form of protection, and there are some well known tools such as Pretty Good Privacy - PGP, which does not require great technical knowledge.

Web Browsing
A new generation of browsers have integrated protection systems more advanced and incognito, hiding information about your IP address and the websites through which sailed. It is worth considering its use and also change the system browser security to a level stronger.

Cloud Services
All major cloud services based in the United States and partner countries may be subject to NSA surveillance. Dropbox, iCloud, Skydrive and Amazon Cloud are in this batch. The ease of loading documents for these services has made them a quick resource for many users who want to have documents accessible on any platform, sharing indiscriminately public information and confidential data.
Again it is worth remembering that it does not want to read your documents is better not to put these services, or else it's the encrypt before placing them in the cloud.

Systems for sending large files and data files
The logic described for cloud services applies to these systems send files, such as SendIT or WeShare. If you have something important to share not forget also to encrypt files. Even if your option pass to use portable memory drives, worth encrypt the information. There are several free tools and TrueCrypt is one of the easiest to use, and can also do it on a partition of your hard drive. Consider also using Windows Bitlocker.

Social Networks
The idea of ​​privacy is in complete opposition to the principle of social networks. The goal here is to share information, disseminate ideas and events of personal life, but there are a growing number of users who know that it is best to share this with limited groups of friends and acquaintances, not "the world". Recently  Facebook warned that will fail to protect the profiles in the search fields, which makes difficult to protect your data but you can continue to protect the most sensitive information and photos, as well as limit the posts to be seen only by those who interests you .. .

There is also a full fringe services that use the geographical location of the phone to provide "background information". It is true that your communications operator always knows where you're going, but maybe do not have to always have this information available to all providers of applications, a setting that can make easily in mobiles. If you want to start now to strengthen the security of your digital life, start by resorting to the tools I have discussed in a recent article. Even without ensuring full protection, will certainly increase the level of security of your data.


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Blog Editor and Owner: Luis Aparicio Fernandes (or Mikey) is a Business Expert and a Traveler based in Sydney, Australia. He is a member of The International Honor Society Beta Gamma Sigma due to his achievements in business. You can follow Luis on Google+, and LinkedIn.