We live in a world where at times we expose unnecessary information to the unknown people because of our lack of importance to information security. Sharing your photos with friends and strangers, sharing your personal details like Name, Address, Phone numbers, etc. with the people who don’t need to know is a way of loosing your security of personal information.
Following is the list of certain examples from your day to day life that you unknowingly compromise with. So, if your answer is “no” for all the questions being asked, then you definitely need to read, understand and implement the parameters mentioned in this article. Let’s go one by one:
Personal Photographs. I am sure you certainly wants your travel photos to be seen by your friends, but do you really want them to been by the whole world?
Your Passwords. I am sure you love your wife, girl-friend, mom and dad, but do you really want to use their names as the password of your mails, social- profiles, banks, etc.?
Your Debit Cards. I am sure you certainly want to help poor people buy providing them the resources such as money, but do you really need to share your debit card number for that matter?
Your ATM Code. I am sure you want to remember the 4-6 digits number of your ATM card, but do you really want to write it down on a paper or in your mobile?
Your Medical History. I am sure you are concerned about your health and want to take inputs on your health checkup results, but do you really need to post your medical history on the public forum?
Your Secure Code. I am sure you are afraid that your credit card may get blocked due to some issue, but do you really need to share the critical CVV details on the phone with some executives?
Your Travel Info. I am sure you are excited about the whole trip you have been planning with your gang, but do you really need to put the whole itinerary on the public forum to let unwanted people know about your hourly plans?
Your Official Info. I am sure you are excited about the new multi-million contract you got from your client, but is it really necessary to share this sensitive client name on the public forum?
I am sure for all the above questions your answer would’ve been a big – big “No”. Nobody wants to share the private information in the public. It’s yours and sharing this information will affect you. That’s why it is called “Private”. But still after knowing all these things, we sometimes gets casual and share more than what’s required.
Take 5 minutes to realise what all you have shared, what all information you know of other people, what kind of passwords do you keep, where do you store your passwords, who all are your friends on Facebook, what pictures are stored in your gallery, who all has access to your phone, books, laptop, with whom you have shared your most personal secret and if that person is trustworthy, who all knows about your upcoming tour, and many other information you can think of. List can be very exhaustive.
List the high level points on a paper and plan to reduce the already shared information or how in future you are going to manage information security. For example, I list down the websites which needs my password whenever I am on my computer. Also I can list other information such as travel information to remind me that I am going with 5 friends and they only need to know about the plan:
* Password Required for: Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, Hotmail, Bank, Official portal, Blog Administration.
* Travel Details: Going with 5 friends – Ram, Shyam, Bhola, Ramesh, Suresh.
* ATMs I have: 3 Debit cards.
Password Protection. But how do I make sure that I remember complex passwords without compromising my information?
Glad you asked!
There are different software’s and mobile apps that gives you features to save your password in the password vault and ease that pressure from you to remember the complex passwords. For example, for everyday purpose, I use KeePass. I simply use a complex password and store in the password vault. From next time, I don’t need to remember the password. I will just copy the password from the vault and use it anywhere. There are many Software’ providing these kind of facilities but I prefer KeePass because it open source and free. I know the internal mechanisms of security of this application. Here is an example how I use KeePass. Central idea of all the password vault applications would be same. The difference would be in terms of presentation and some additional features like syncing of password across various devices (Desktop, Mobile, Tablet).
* Install the application from KeePass website: http://keepass.info/
* Download and Run the application
* Set up a local database and master password ( just need to remember this master password!..Please keep it strong )
* Now you will see the dashboard:
* Go to edit > new entry or press “ctrl + I”
* Add your entry such as:
* Notice the dangerous password I have used. I have made it very complex because I know I may not use it again and again. My KeePass will do the job for me every-time.
* Finally dashboard will show Facebook as my link and its username and password stored in the industry standard encryption algorithm and displayed as masked.
* I just need to double clink on the URL and Copy my password on the Facebook login page.
* You can setup similar profiles for your emails, twitter accounts, official and bank portals.
ATM Protection. One of the most common frauds that are happening around the world is due to the information leakage from ATM cards. Sometimes, the leak happens from the bank’s side, and sometimes leak happens from your end.
Banks Responsibility.To avoid the loss happening from Bank’s end, please do a proper research on the reputation of the bank. Read reviews and security portals and get to know about the bank that how active and serious the bank is in terms of securing customer information. A good way is to check the security related compliance status of the bank. If it’s certified, that you will have confidence that your information is secure.
Your own responsibility. From your end, you need to make sure that you are aware on high level that what kind of credit cards and debit cards fraud happen these days.
Also know the basic terminologies of the Banking world related to the cards. Such as importance of CVV number, 16 digit card number, OTP (one time password), ATM password.
Make sure that at any point of time on call or chat, do not share your full card numbers, cvv and OTP. I repeat: PLEASE DO NOT SHARE YOUR CVV, OTP & ATM PIN.
Fraudsters sometimes call and ask for such critical information. In addition to this make sure that you are shopping from a well known website. Don’t enter your card number and CVV unless you are sure of the merchant is secure or not. Famous online shopping portals are required by the banks to get certified and are therefore safe to use.
I am sure you can remember your wife’s and girl-friend’s number. Therefore you need to practice to remember your ATM PINS. Do not write it down on any paper as there is a chance it might get lost and may end up in a wrong end. These numbers are 4-6 digits logs and I am sure it would easy to remember.
Personal Photographs, status messages, travel plans. Often you want to show your friends and families that where you have been and how you enjoyed your holidays, birthdays, weddings, etc. It’s great and I am sure your family wants to know too about your photos and experiences. But what if I say that the photograph you just uploaded can be used for other malign activities.
I am 100% sure, that you are not sure if 1000s of your facebook friends are to be trusted to secure your information as is.
I may sound a little blunt, but get rid of the people whom you have no contact. If you see your list you will see that almost 50% of the list can be shortened. The remaining 50% are the ones whom you want to share your experiences with and who are really interested in knowing your experiences.
Filter out and this will reduce the risk of leakage by a big margin.
Don’t run behind the number of likes and shares. Your information security should be the top most priority.
Facebook has got seamless ways to secure your information. You can protect your information from the people you don’t want to share with by customising your posts and pictures.
Simply click on the post setting and see the options like these:
Click on Custom and choose with whom you want to share and with whom you don’t want to share:
Save the changes and enjoy the secure feature of the public forum.
Typically, most of our days involve the information related to the passwords of your websites, sharing of pictures and statuses, and bank account and debit card details. Information security itself is a huge topic and there are millions of ways of protecting your information. In this article I wanted you to make aware of the security of information that we ignore in our day to day lives.
I hope this article has given some idea on the importance of securing information.
In the next phase of my article on information security, I will give you some real life examples that I have come across during my job. The real world examples will amaze you. It will emphasise mostly on the scale on which the loss happens. Be it personal loss or money loss or relationship loss. Watch out this space
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