Saturday, 24 September 2011

How to protect your personal info

What is personal info:
the info identifies you, makes you different from others and can make you lose your money/assets: ID number, SIN, phone number, name, mail address, email address, driver license, car license plate, motorbike license plate, academic certificates, visa, passport, signature, bank cards, etc.
Why do you need to protect your personal info:
You can show off your personal info 100 times and nothing happens? You may not know that just one time suddenly in those 100 times can cost you a fortune. Be secure 100% is much harder than showing off your personal life. Let’s be securing practitioners. Whatever you do, you just need to make sure no one can use your personal info to turn your life darker later.
 Here are some basic steps I’m doing in my daily life:

(Picture from internet)
  1. Want to throw away anything to your recycle bin (blue box)? Take some seconds to check carefully one more time if your sensitive info is there. If yes, you should destroy or shred them before throwing them away.

  2. Never give your personal contact info on social network, or if you have to, select hidden/personal mode. Common mistakes were made when people are throwing phone numbers, mail or email addresses everywhere, especially when some friends just asked on social networks and they replied in public.

  3. Never share pictures of your vehicles with full license number, your house, your assets and mail address.
  4. If you need to register to use services from some websites, consider using fake info if it’s not a must to use the real info. Trying to fill in gender as male than female.

    Similarly, if you need to sign up an account on websites, try to spend time on the policy term. Make sure the websites never sell or use your personal info by any other purposes. Usually, the policy term is very long and hard to understand. However, you’ll get what you paid.

  5. Have at least two email addresses with different purposes: one for serious business or profession, one for fun and entertainment. Of course you don’t need to declare your real info to sign up for entertainment email addresses.

  6. Maintain at least some kind of password tricks. Never use only one password for everything. Never write password obviously down on a note or a file. Make sure password is weird but catchy enough to you.

    E.g: I have 4 password types, for serious one, I will use around more than 16 characters, for average security, I’ll use around 10 characters, for fun, I can use around 6 to 8 characters and maintain some passwords with just numbers for bank cards or cell phone security.

    In this case, I will write down hints to remind my passwords instead of my real passwords: “long” (for most secure password), “average” (for average secure one), “short” (for entertainment one), numberA (for bank card 1), numberB (for cell phone). On my mind, I know what “long”, “average”, “short”, “numberA” and “numberB” stand for. It sounds hard but it’s not really that hard after you get used to the way.

    It’s recommended to have !@#$%^&*()_+~, number, upper case and lower case letters inside your passwords. E.g: "1!l0v!u!4ever*" means "I!love!you!foreverkiss"

  7. Before downloading anything, try to look all over the website and judge the security by yourself. If you don’t trust the website, don’t download. If you have to download, don’t open or run the file. Ask for help or scan by the latest antivirus software. If no one can help and no antivirus software on your machine? Go and google the review for that software or file. If you’re too lazy to do those things? Backup your data well before taking your all risks to run it.

  8. If you have important files or folders that you don’t want anyone to see by accident, put passwords on them. You can put them under hidden mode if you have enough labour to type and open them whenever you need.

  9. If you’re using laptop or net book, it’s recommended to install some remote software so that you can access your machines by internet/network. Make sure you’re using trustable software (e.g: Logmein). This is the first saver to find your devices when they’re stolen. The chance to have them back is very low but you still have a chance, don’t you?

  10. Don’t turn on your webcam if you don’t need. Make sure just people you allow can see your webcam. Turn webcam off after using.
  11. Try to google yourself once in a couple of months using your name, your private keywords, your email addresses or your personal info and check out the results. If there are some bad results that may harm you, find a way to remove them. You can try to delete them if they’re under your control. If not, contact webmasters of those websites and ask them to remove your info.

    It’s not easy, trust me. However, it’s still possible. I did that with my land phone number.

  12. Whenever plugging USB/CD/DVD, portable HDD or accessing files through network, try to scan them by latest antivirus software if you don’t trust them or you know they were passed through many people. If antivirus software is too heavy, can use some small software like USB Disk Security.

  13. Either setup password to access your machine or don’t save passwords into your software/browsers. At least one level of security is applied.

  14. Always try to update Windows, software and browsers to make sure you’re running on the most secure version. Using different Operating system from Microsoft Windows is a huge benefit.

  15. If you have to use another machine, you ensure that machine is trustable. Don’t save your data on that machine. Clean all forms, passwords, histories and files after you finish.

    Make sure there is no key logger or any suspicious software on that machine. Never input sensitive info directly into forms, browsers and software. If you cannot ensure or decide how secure the machine you’re using. Always prepare a camouflage file with you. E.g: my password is !%#$^%adafs, I’ll create a file with content:

    akaljgal;g alj  kal ja alk;s fasjỏ/’ ;6 2;4l6j ;lk23  @^@#^& lkj lajf dalskdf  LUoi wqetjoijte# J#@ @#!%#^ l kkalf alkfdj ds !%#$^%adafs nasdflka sfjlas  !#%#6 34kl lkd jaflkfjsadfkl !%#$^%adafs sad kteõpitu 3oeitj djslkf sadklf alfjsadjfasoiu9uu46 4 kj asdf^#$^ 34lk

    Whenever I need my password, copy from this file and paste it instead of typing. Of course make your file secure too :0)

  16. Always log out your machine, software, browser after using the computer or have to be away from the computer.

    (To be continued whenever I remember more to put down, ha ha ha.)

    P/S: I still got virus one time and lost all my .exe files because my USB mouse were too sensitive (one click turned to be double). The advice is, no one is perfect, practices make us better. 

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