Don’t be the next victim of ‘The Great Hack’ – 9 Ways to secure your data.
‘The Great Hack‘ is a documentary film by Netflix, which details how Cambridge Analytica used our personal data from sources such as Facebook to create profiles of voters who could be targeted to influence events such as the US Elections and the UK Brexit vote. The reality is that we have become far too free with what we share on the internet, and our personal data has now become a commodity which is more valuable than oil.
In this article, we will give you some tips on how you can take steps to secure your personal data.
- We give a lot of our data to companies like Facebook, Google, and Microsoft. But we don’t always know how well that data is protected.
- Data breaches like Collection #1 or attacks like the T-Mobile hack happen way too frequently.
- And companies like Facebook have been criticized for uploading user data without permission.
- You can’t stop a company from getting hacked, but you can limit how much information you share.
- Here are some simple ways you can maintain your privacy online.
Following is a transcript of the video.
Narrator: If you’re watching this video, there’s a good chance your data has been hacked, leaked, or stolen. Over a billion users were affected by data breaches in 2018, and it seems like there are reports of new hacks every week. Can you even use the internet without your information eventually leaking? What’s going on with your data?
We trust companies with a lot of our data. Unfortunately, we don’t always know how the data’s being used or if it’s protected. Third parties accessing your information without your permission is never good. But there are actually a bunch of ways your information can be exposed. Large data breaches can leak data from multiple companies, often containing information of millions of users. In 2018, a leak called Collection #1 was released on the file-hosting site Mega. Collection #1 contained millions of passwords and emails all collected from previous data breaches. But sometimes the attacks are more specific.
Hackers often target individual companies to gain access to their user data. The largest hack so far was the Yahoo hack. In 2013, 3 billion user accounts were compromised. The breach included user phone numbers, birth dates, and even security questions and answers. Even though that breach happened in 2013, users didn’t know the full scale until three years later. More recently, T-Mobile was targeted by hackers who stole the data of 2 million users. These types of hacks are all too common nowadays. But it gets worse.
Third parties can have access to your data even if there was no hack. When you sign into an app or a game with Facebook, you’re sharing some of your data, and it’s hard to know how the data you share is being used or who has access to it. In 2015, the app This Is Your Digital Life shared user data with third parties like Cambridge Analytica. Facebook gave the app access to user-profile data and information on subjects each user was interested in. Users of the app had no idea this data was being used, and in April, Business Insider reported that Facebook had unintentionally uploaded 1.5 million email contacts without user permission. Facebook has even been criticized for using phone numbers used to verify passwords to instead target ads, taking something that was supposed to be used for security and using it to improve ad tracking.
Sometimes there isn’t even malicious intent, just negligence. In 2018, The Wall Street Journal reported that a bug in Google Plus could have exposed the data of hundreds of thousands of users. Google claims no user data was misused, but they failed to disclose this issue for months.
OK, so this type of thing happens a lot, and your data is probably out there. But how does this actually affect you? At best, it doesn’t. If your email address is leaked, for example, there isn’t much that hackers can do without having other information. But it gets worse when more private information is exposed. If passwords and emails are leaked, you’re at risk of having your account stolen or accessed by someone else. And depending on where the data came from and how often it was used, it could mean someone now has access to your email login, online bank accounts, or other very sensitive data. The worst-case scenario can include things like credit-card fraud and identity theft. These breaches have serious impacts beyond bad PR for a company, and they’re actually getting worse.
The number and size of data breaches has skyrocketed in the last decade. According to research from Norton Lifelock, more than a billion adults have been the victim of a cyber crime. OK, so at this point, you’re probably a little freaked out and are wondering what you can do to protect your data.
Here are a few tips that don’t take a lot of time but can have huge security benefits.
1. Find out if your data has been leaked
First, check if your data has been leaked. The website Have I Been Pwned has a database of information that has been exposed. You can input your info like an email address or old passwords to see if that data has been leaked.
2. Change your passwords
If it has, change those passwords right away.
3. Vary your passwords
Speaking of passwords, using the same password for everything is a horrible idea. If one account is compromised, all of your accounts will be at risk.
4. Get a paid VPN
Using a paid VPN can hide your internet traffic and IP address from third parties. A VPN can also protect your data when you’re using public WiFi. It will encrypt your data, making it much more difficult for anyone to steal it from an open network. VanishedVPN is one of the best value VPNs in the world, and we are recommended by Lifehacker. We can also supply a preconfigured router which runs multiple VPNs so that all of your devices are protected.
5. Use a password manager
Instead, use a password manager, like LastPass or 1Password. A password manager securely stores your passwords and can help you generate unique ones that are hard to crack with brute-force hacking.
6. Set up two-factor authentication
Additionally, setting up two-factor authentication for your accounts can prevent someone who has that password from accessing that account. If you’re feeling overly vulnerable or paranoid, you can even purchase a device like YubiKey to add even more security to your accounts. Even something as simple as keeping your apps and computer up-to-date can help prevent malicious attacks.
7. Turn off ad tracking
Next, turn off ad tracking when available. We give a lot of information to online advertisers without even knowing it, but some services give users the option to limit what is being shared. The VanishedVPN Invizbox 2 allows you to block ads, and also secure all of your devices by routing them over our secure VPN.
8. Switch your browser
If you wanna go even further, you can use a browser like Firefox Focus, which acts as always-on incognito mode, enabling a private-browsing session that shares and retains less data than traditional browsers.
9. Monitor your credit
If you think sensitive data has leaked, that could allow for fraud or identity theft. Be sure to contact your credit-card company and credit-reporting bureaus. You can also monitor your credit yourself via sites like Credit Sesame, which will alert you if there are any inquiries into your credit.
This is a lot, I know. Being on the internet means we’re always sharing some kind of data. You can’t stop a company from getting hacked, but you can limit how much information you share.
Source – Business Insider
What is a VPN? And why you should use a VPN on public Wi-Fi
If you’ve ever wondered if it’s safe to use public Wi-Fi, you are not alone. In fact, according to the Norton Cybersecurity Insights Report, 6 in 10 consumers believe using public Wi-Fi is riskier than using a public restroom. And it is. Surfing the Web or transacting on an unsecured Wi-Fi network means you’re placing your private information and anonymity at risk. That’s why a virtual private network, better known as a VPN, is a must for anyone worried about online security and privacy.
What is a VPN?
A virtual private network gives you online privacy and anonymity by creating a private network from a public Internet connection. VPNs mask your Internet protocol (IP) address so your online actions are virtually untraceable. Most important, VPN services establish secure and encrypted connections, guaranteed to provide greater privacy than even a secured Wi-Fi hotspot.
Why you need a VPN
Think about all the times you’ve been on the go, reading emails while in line at the coffee shop, or checking your bank account while waiting at the doctor’s office. Unless you were logged into a private Wi-Fi network that required a password, any data transmitted during your online session was likely vulnerable to eavesdropping by strangers using the same network.
The encryption and anonymity that a VPN provides protects all of your online activities: sending emails, shopping online, or paying bills. VPNs also help keep your Web browsing anonymous.
VPNs essentially create a data tunnel between your local network and an exit node in another location, which could be thousands of miles away, making it seem as if you’re in another place. This benefit makes VPNs valuable for people who live in countries that censor access to specific websites. It will also allow you to continue enjoying your favorite apps and websites from anywhere in the world, as if you were at home.
How to choose a VPN
The best way to stay secure when using public Wi-Fi is to use a VPN solution, like Vanished VPN, which is compatible with Android and iOS smartphones and tablets, as well as Windows PCs and Apple Macs. Here are some questions to ask when you’re choosing a VPN provider.
- Do they run the most current protocol? OpenVPN provides stronger security than other protocols, such as PPTP. We support both OpenVPN & L2TP
- Do they set data limits? Depending on your Internet usage, bandwidth may be a large deciding factor for you. Make sure their services match your needs by checking to see if you’ll get full, unmetered bandwidth without data limits. Remember, some packages may not cost you money, but you’ll be subjected to frequent advertisements instead. At Vanished VPN, we don’t set data limits and we don’t throttle bandwidth. In fact, we optimise our service for speed to ensure the best experience when streaming.
- Where are the servers located? Decide which server locations are important to you. If you want to appear as if you’re accessing the Web from a certain locale, make sure there’s a server in that country.
- Will you be able to set up VPN access on multiple devices? If you are like the average consumer, you use between three and five devices. Ideally, you’d be able to use the VPN on all of them at the same time. At Vanished VPN, we allow you to have 4 simultaneous connections with each account, so you can protect multiple devices.
- Pricing. Our prices are extremely competitive, and we beat all of the big VPN providers, as you can see in our comparison table here.
There are many points to consider when you’re choosing a VPN, so do your homework to make sure you’re getting the best fit for your needs. Regardless of which provider you choose, rest assured that any good VPN will provide far more security, privacy, and anonymity online than any public Wi-Fi hotspot ever could.
UK Porn age restrictions come into force in July 2019
Governments all over the world continue to try and regulate the internet, restrict what we can view, and log our browsing history. Whether this be social media and coms blocks in China & the middle east to ISP logging in UK, USA & Australia, the world leaders are determined to undermine our web freedom.
The latest example of this is the UK age verification law for adult content. For some time now, certain ISPs in the UK have blocked access to certain adult sites unless you register with them to prove that you are over 18. This will become law in the UK from July 2019.
Whilst the purpose behind this (to protect minors from adult content) is a good idea, as usual, the execution is far from perfect. Sites & ISPs who are non-compliant may face fines of up to £250K which is a good incentive to comply, however does the average man (or woman) on the street really want to have their details stored in a database somewhere, which basically blows the whistle on them accessing porn ? I’m sure that the databases in question would be prime targets for hackers who would get their kicks out of releasing those identities into the public domain to shame the people in question (look what happened in the case of Ashley Madison data breach.)
If you want to remain anonymous online, and have freedom to browse the content that you want on the sites that you want without any registration, anywhere in the world, look no further than here.
By connecting to our VPN servers, you can access what you want, wherever you are in the world, whilst remaining secure and anonymous for the price of a beer each month. We also have a 30 day money back guarantee, so you can trial our service risk free.
Check out our subscriptions here, and stay safe.
The crew at Vanished VPN
Protect yourself from wi-fi hacks with Vanished VPN
IF YOU USE WIFI, AND DON’T USE A VPN, YOU COULD BE VULNERABLE
A new wifi vulnerability (KRACK) was discovered recently, which allows hackers to easily intercept unencrypted data (including usernames and passwords) from devices which are connected to Wifi using WPA2 security. This is a very commonly used feature. Its likely that you are using WPA2 on your home network, or public wifi.
HOW DOES IT WORK ?
The vulnerability allows hackers to intercept your data without you knowing, by acting as a ‘man in the middle’ as shown in the diagram above. This video demonstrates this in action, and shows just how easy it is for hackers to intercept your data (even when the user is connected via HTTPS). Full technical details of the discovery can be found here.
IS MY DEVICE AT RISK
Any device connected to a wireless network using WPA2 security is potentially at risk. Android devices are particularly vulnerable (this includes Kodi boxes).
SO WHAT ?
If a hacker was to intercept your data, they could potentially steal personal information such as usernames & passwords, and access your email, social media & bank accounts. This could result in identity theft and financial loss.
HOW CAN I PROTECT MYSELF
1) Use a VPN – To fully protect yourself from KRACK, and other vulnerabilities we recommend that you use VanishedVPN whenever you are connected to Wifi. VanishedVPN provides military grade encryption to ensure that your data remains safe & confidential.
2) Update your operating system – Its good practice to do this anyway, but with the current threat, most suppliers are working on updates to improve security.
3) Purchase an Invizbox 2, and run all your devices through it. This device is cable of running multiple VPNs & up to 8 wifi networks, so you can ensure that all your devices are protected.