The #CambridgeAnalytica whistle-blower Christopher Wylie revealed that, by using the #data obtained from #Facebook, “We would know [how] to change how you think about something.”
He explained that, by using the data provided from Facebook, they would know exactly what information you would need to be exposed to, through what channel, at what times, and how many times, to literally be able to make you think what they want you to think, and act in the way they want you to act – all based on those manipulated thoughts. Scary stuff!
Here are some quick simple tips to protect your privacy right now.
SECURE YOUR PC, PROTECT AGAINST CYBERCRIME
– Use a trusted and fully-featured #AntiVirus and #Firewall as an absolute minimum amount of security. While there are some decent free antivirus programs available from reputable companies, they offer only basic protection. It is not sufficient for today’s digital threats. However, do not think of it as a cost: it is an investment against serious costs: the average loss for a victim of identity theft is over $8000 USD!
– Keep all software, apps, and the main operating system (Windows or iOS) fully up to date. This process can be mostly automated with a little know-how, and brings you the security fixes and vulnerability patches in the quickest time with the least effort.
– If you have a selection of software or apps that were pre-installed on your PC by the manufacturer (called “#bloatware”), remove them. The companies who manufacture the hardware take cash from software companies to pre-install those companies’ solutions. They are often not the best option or are over-priced, and the practice is controversial as it often tricks users into paying for software which they believe they need because it came with the PC.
– An ad-blocker installed in your browser is a great additional line of defence from simple ads and cookies, and can even protect you from #malware being installed. Try the great, free, and open-source AdBlock Plus, available for all popular browsers here.
SECURE YOUR PHONE / MOBILE DEVICE
– Set a strong passcode: minimum six-digit passcode using a mix of lowercase letters and numbers. You can see our quick guide to easily creating and remembering stronger passwords.
– Avoid unnecessary apps: Whenever you install a new app, you will need to authorize that app to carry out certain actions on your phone, including accessing your contacts, your messages, your photos, videos, and more. A good rule of thumb is – if it’s free, you’re paying with your data. Review your installed apps and their permissions regularly.
– Avoid public Wi-Fi: It’s horribly insecure, and sometimes the Wi-Fi network itself is actually set up as a trap specifically to steal your data. Stick with your phone’s data connection if you need a secure network. If you must use public Wi-Fi, see our guide on Public WiFi Security: 9 Steps to Protect Yourself.
These steps are just the beginning to improving your online security and protecting yourself from viruses, malware, hackers, or worse.