Every year in July, the best and brightest hackers get together at the national Def Con conference of cyber security. These are the experts at breaking into companies, those both large and small, as well as personal accounts, and government facilities. If you want to keep your money and identity safe, it’s best to learn something from these authorities on the subject.
You are the weak link
Changing your password often does no good if you give it willingly to a hacker. The one thing that the Def Con attendees do better than coding is talking. The biggest threat to cyber security comes under the category of social engineering, developing ways to create opportunities to hack the human gatekeeper to the system. Researchers have honed in on the idea of the unintentional insider threat, which refers to a hapless target of one or multiple social engineering attacks. One common attack is the Pretext attack in which the engineer creates a plausible scenario that would require you to divulge private information. This may happen as a phishing email, a telephone call or both. Most often, the fake communication is purportedly from your bank. The best way to handle this type of threat is to delete it completely. If you have concerns about its validity, then call the company directly using a telephone number from a trusted source. Do not use the number, email address, or links provided in the email.
Reduced opportunity is the best security
As is their nature, smartphones are designed to be interconnected. They carry a lot of personal information and present several different pathways to get to that information. To start, keep your smartphone password protected. An even more secure solution is a fingerprint scanner, like the iPhone 7. This will help prevent crimes of opportunity where a thief can simply open your phone when you are not watching. Since hackers look for entry opportunities, get into the habit of shutting down your Bluetooth and Wi-Fi access when you are not actively using them. Lastly, smartphones can be infected with malware just like a desktop computer, so protect it with an antivirus program.
This is a game to hackers
It may not seem fun to you but to the hackers, this is a party with cake and balloons. To give you an idea of the festive nature, every year, the Def Con folks present a contest. This year, each team was given a closed environment computer platform with user authentication for each transaction. The team that kept their system going while simultaneously hacking into and shutting down their opponent’s system was the winner.
Cyber security conclusions
The lesson here is a simple one: avoid becoming a target. By maintaining a low profile, you can automatically reduce your exposure to hackers. Also, update all software to the latest versions. You definitely don’t want old tools when you’re forced to play in the cyber security game.