Personal Cyber Security

Personal cyber security

JULY 08, 2016     Security    

6 minutes to read

How often are you concerned about your personal security when it comes to sharing your personal and contact information? This is one of the hottest and trendiest topics in cyber security and personal security field these days. Every day we are hearing the stories of big companies and various applications using different security measurements like two-factor authentication, end to end encryption and many other techniques while there are many more news headlines about giant companies and famous application get hacked and the user data is stolen.


These news headlines get us thinking that aren’t those security measures there to protect our data against security breaches? Why the experts never foreseen these circumstances and prepare fall back strategies to protect the data and make it unreadable to others. Well the truth is, most of the times those who call themselves experts, cannot foreseen all the possible breaches and provide strategies and methods to prevent the possible vulnerabilities.
The most common methods these days apply to the applications and systems is the two factor authentication to prevent the breach of personal password and unauthorized login to personal or work accounts and the second most used method is end to end encryption which makes it impossible for the others who are tracing network packets and intercept the network traffic to decode the content and messages.

But the truth about how hackers and how they infiltrate the system and steal personal and corporate information is they would not use the obvious ways to sniff your network traffic and decrypt an impossible encryption to steal your information. They would use alternative methods that you would not even think about. It’s all about the art of deception and how well they can convince you to share your personal and contact information with them.
These days most of the hacks and information theft happens voluntarily from the victims and they willingly share their personal and contact information with the people who does not have good deeds. In the following of this article I will explain couple of these methods that hackers use to collect personal information of the people.


Community Groups

The most common method to gather a large number of contact information and personal details is to create focused groups to address an issue or critical need of any community to indirectly encourage people to share their information willingly. For example, the most usual one is to advertise job vacancy groups in social media website and messaging applications and ask the people who are interested to leave their contact number. With using this method, you are getting their names which is most of the times real and accurate full names and their contact numbers.
These days most of the social networks and messaging applications are linked to your phone number and by having the phone number, the hackers can access more personal information than you think. Most of messaging applications by default their privacy settings allow anyone to view your full name and your picture. Sometimes you may think these are very basic information, but those who know how to use these information can access even more personal information like your interests, location base places you have visited, and even your financial information.


Marketing Campaigns

The more casual method to collect personal information is the marketing campaigns where you may not realize that you are sharing your personal information willingly regardless of the potential risks you are bringing on yourself. In this method, the company or a person ask you to write down or share your name and contact information in order to receive a chance in winning a prize or similar tricks to make you interested. Usually in these scenarios the company, organization or the person may not put you at risk in the first place or take advantage of your information. But they may share these information with their partners or third-party entities which may sell or exchange your information. Legally speaking, most of these campaigns does not share that they would not share your information or state their privacy policy regarding your information.
These methods can be used as survey or feedback form from restaurants, cafes, events, seminars and so on. The first thing you should think about before filling any kind of forms with your personal and contact information is to determine whether they need to know your real name and contact number. In many scenarios where they want your feedback and opinion about something, the important content is your opinion and not your personal and contact information.


Hack Personal Information by Phone Number

These days getting people’s personal information is very easy as long as you have their primary contact number. The process is simple as saving the phone number without name and details in your smart phone contacts and open famous social media network and messaging applications and look for the contact tab or contact section of the application, by default the privacy settings of the application allow anyone to view the contact name and show the contact picture. Now you know what the real name of the person is and you know how they look like.


How to Prevent Personal Cyber Attacks

In order to prevent any potential cyber security risks, identity theft, and misuse of your personal information in cyber space, you have to change your personal habits.
Firstly, you have to reconsider when it comes to sharing your personal information with any entity in real world and on internet and keep it in mind they may not be the person who you think they are. It is common that the hackers impose other people and from their primary data gatherings they may know little about you and your life and easily they can use these information to gain your trust.
Secondly, never use your personal information for work purposes and vice versa. This will leak your personal footprints on web to the hands of the people who know how to use your personal information against you. Always have separate work and personal emails, telephone number, address and any kinds of contact information and keep it in mind not to use your personal information for work purposes and the other way.
Thirdly, never trust free Wi-Fi and internet providers as you may not know who else is connected to the same network and can access the network traffic. If you are using these free internet networks, never login to any of your email, social network and most importantly your financial accounts. If you have to do it, using the VPN and encrypted networks is suggested but still there are no guarantees that you are safe from the hackers.
Lastly, when you are creating social media accounts or download messaging application try to use email address and phone number that you are not going to share with anyone or at least not share it with others than your close friend’s circle.

About the Author
Masoud Haghi

is an enthusiast designer, developer and system architect and he love to write about the creative design, integration, development and technology. Building startup companies and social branding is one of his hobbies and work routine. His latest startup company JaaMaa is comprehensive real estate system.


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