Network security is ALMOST as important as physical security in today’s environment. So, what can a person do to keep snoopers from stealing their identity while they are using a public Internet hotspot?
One of our users asked whether there was a greater risk from using a tablet rather than a laptop. Actually, you could include smart phones in the mix as well, since they often have as much private information as your computer. And, their smaller size makes them MUCH easier to misplace or have stolen.
But from a technology standpoint, I don’t know that there is any greater risk for one device over another. The only exception might be that Windows-based laptops may be at a highe￼r risk. That, because so many are out there, they may be perceived (by the snooper) as an easier target. Another thought: the less-technical the user, the easier the “mark” (see Note1).
Here are a few common sense issues that may help:
- Use your own computer for anything that may involve your privacy. Public computers may have key-loggers that record every keystroke that you make.
- Even on your own computer or device ASSUME that someone is recording everything and only make exceptions when necessary.
- Use a WIRED connection if it is available. A Cat5 Ethernet connection has much greater privacy and security than a WiFi connection.
- Try to always use a SECURED network. If the network is “open” – does not require any password to sign in – then you are at a MUCH higher risk of someone snooping.
- ALWAYS use the httpS:// when connecting with sites requiring your secure passwords or data. This is usually noted by a padlock symbol in the browser – or you can just check the actual address. NEVER type your password unless you see one of the signs that the connection is secured.
- Select secure connections on any site that gives that option. Google login can be set to ONLY connect with secure connections. This is VERY important since if a snooper can steal your email password, they will likely have access to other – even more private data. Also, Google has an option to call your mobile phone when a strange attempt is made to login to your account.
- Elect to be notified when a new computer or ip is used to connect to your accounts. Facebook and some others do this.
Do you have other ideas that can help? Leave a comment so we can all benefit.
Note1: A recent study by AptiQuant Psychometric Consulting Co. entitled, “Intelligence Quotient (IQ) and Browser Usage, Measuring the Effects of Cognitive Ability on the Choice of Web Browser” reported some interesting results. After compiling the results from more than 100,000 users, they “found that there was no substantial difference between users of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Opera. But Internet Explorer users had IQs below average.” Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/study-internet-explorer-users-are-dumber-2011-7?op=1#ixzz1TVZ3SizY