Monday, March 4, 2013

Cybercrime: Time to Get Prepared

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Image Credit: The Verge

Suddenly it seems that the technology world is more vulnerable to hacking now than ever, at least it appears to be. We've heard the story that Twitter has been hacked, and then it's Apple and Facebook. And now Evernote, the software that provides online note taking and archiving, has just fallen victim to the hackers as well. Though companies have assured that there is no sensitive information leaked due to the hacking, it is hardly convincing for the customers to believe that their information is still securely stored at the server end.

Whether the private data has been accessed by the hackers or not, it exposes that storing your data online may not be as safe as you think. This has brought the security concerns on cloud services. Imagine you have stored all your bank account details and passwords of various websites in the cloud and they got hacked, or your personal information has been stolen to assist others to fake and mask their identity. The damage that you suffer from would be massive. It's a criminal crime but it's hard to trace and the price to remedy the problem is high as well. 

Things stored locally on your computer could be exposed to hacking, too. Don't forget that your computer is connected to the Internet most of the time. Due to vulnerability in your operating system or your browser, Virus, malware or Trojan will cost you as much as the problem mentioned above. 

So how do we prevent, or at least reduce the chances of getting hacked?

First, using your online services wisely. Don't put too much sensitive information in your cloud service or any server. It is sometimes inevitable to fill in forms and personal details, so just try to provide the necessary information. Choose the large vendors rather than the small ones (though it doesn't mean they are reliable as we've seen, it is still better than small firms' security measures). 

Second, change your password every now and then, for your important accounts. I know everybody hates changing password and it takes too much effort to memorise them since we may have more than 10 accounts (a very conservative estimate) to manage. However, changing password frequently still helps you protect your account and personal information from being stolen.

Lastly, on your own computer, be careful about the applications you are installing and make sure they are downloaded from credible websites. Viruses and trojans are mostly incepted by downloading software from untrusted sites. In addition, firewall and anti-virus package may help reduce the chance of being hacked, too. 

As we are increasingly relying on Internet in today's society, Cybercrime isn't something that only happens in movies or fictions. It could happen to every single one of us and it has its real cost. That's something we should all get prepared for. 

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