Cybersecurity Insight

Think Before You Click: Could I Steal Your Information?

25 Jun

The truth: we need the Internet. According to Statista the United States has over 200 Million Internet users; that’s over two thirds of us.

The problem: most people don’t know how unsafe they are when using the Internet. Sure, websites put up “safety seals” and purchase SLL certificates to help ease consumer or user concerns but this often isn’t enough to stop someone from stealing your personal information.

Currently, when a person or business registers a domain name for a website they must provide contact details such as a name, address, and email but if the purchaser doesn’t want this information shown on a public WHOIS (domain search), they can use a privacy proxy or company that will provide its own contact details in lieu of the registrant’s. This amount of privacy allows people to anonymously register domain names which can elicit spam or other negative attention. WHOIS records are already a hot bed for spam artists who comb them to gain email and home addresses.

We move at light speed creating new websites, apps, products, and services while only thinking briefly about how secure they actually are. Remember the case of SnapChat, who claimed they did not keep any snaps after they were seen by the recipient? It turned out SnapChat in fact did keep a record of the snapped chats even after they were supposedly deleted.

Most of us don’t even blink an eye when clicking the box to accept the terms of service (we could’ve signed off our firstborns for all we know), or fill out a form because we assume that the company or provider on the other end can be trusted to protect us. In reality, they only do what they’re legally required. Current requirements are not necessarily strict, and if a company is the victim of a cyber attack (think Target, IRS, Apple) they face little repercussion outside of a slight dip in consumer trust or loyalty – at least for large brands.

Rest assured there are plenty of security advocates fighting for our online safety. The Internet is still a relatively young, and ever changing beast that is difficult to regulate or fully secure.

Batman speaking to Robin, saying "The location of the Bat Cave is meant to be secret, so STOP checking in!"

What can you do to help protect yourself? While we continue to see new legislation and regulations rolled out in the future, you can do a number of things yourself. As a consumer, you can use prepaid credit or debit cards, only purchase from websites you trust 100% or have a solid reputation for security. You could also limit the amount of information you share online in places like Facebook, Twitter, or other social websites.

As a business you can seek out vendors, such as Neovera, who can help run security audits, find holes in the armor, and help build a plan to protect yourself from cyber attacks. When a business takes firm action to try to stop threats, it trickles down to their customers as well, making their information more secure and building more trust.

In the end, the Internet is an awesome, yet sometimes scary place. It can often seem like the Wild Wild West of the digital era, but it doesn’t have to be if precautions are taken.