Hawaii Intelligence Digest, 27 February 1017, 03:30 hrs, UTC, Post #125.
Accessed on 27 February 2017, 03:30 hrs, UTC.
Author: Trevor Dobrygoski.
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Because of the recent uptick in ransomware, malware, and hacking attacks, I will temporarily move off my geopolitical intelligence soapbox and concentrate on the growing cybersecurity problem impacting the internet. As a former victim of identity theft, I can relate to the woes experienced by companies, individuals, and even government agencies who’ve experienced a seemingly endless procession of data breaches and online compromises. It took months to restore my credit and reputation after my personal data were taken. While I’ve made my peace with the uncertainties of the internet through better security procedures, password changes, and limited social media presence, I still fear the day when some hacker singles out my blog or email for exploitation.
Although I’m not quite at the point of eliminating my online presence, a few of my close friends are seriously thinking of leaving the internet and its problems for good. If you’re contemplating such a move and all of the inconvenience it will bring, please consider the suggestions of technical writer Trevor Dobrygoski, who provides a step-by-step guide to disengaging you and your data from the internet.
Dobrygoski says would- be internet drop outs should do the following:
Find out what the internet knows about you and take remedial action. Do a Google Search for your name and your email address to see what’s publicly known about you. This could be an enlightening experience.
Get a background check from a service such as Intelius or US Search. You will pay between $20-$40 for a thorough look into your web presence. Once you’ve done this, begin to chip away at those public online records that define your online personality.
Stop using social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Google +, and Twitter–all of which have experienced data breaches. Delete these accounts for peace of mind.
Delete any online accounts you no longer use.
As a final step to disengaging from the intrusiveness of the internet, reporter Dobrygosi says tell your friends not to mention you or your activities on their social media or websites:
“Once you have a good majority of your Googleable (if thats a word) information and accounts deleted, you will want to make sure you or others are not doing anything to show searchers your whereabouts. Some of the common ways your location or other information can be found is by one of these common mistakes.
No tags – You will want to make sure other people don’t tag you in pictures.
GPS – TURN OFF THE GEOLOCATION AND GPS! Digital images can have the location and other information embedded in them. If you or others take pictures of you, have them shut off the geolocation.
Don’t talk about you – Ask them not to mention you in their updates or online…. period.
Personal information – Ask people not to post your personal information on the web. If someone is trying to find you, they may know who you associate with. You could be tracked by association.
The main theme to all of this is, it’s a huge pain in the butt to delete yourself from the internet. Do what you can to get rid of your previous digital footprints and be a lot more careful about what you do in the future.”
While this procedure is drastic, it does give you a few helpful suggestions to reduce your online presence. In my case, I maintain several blogs related to my part-time employment, so most of my attention is focused on “hardening” my websites. If you use a CMS such as WordPress or even Blogger, take advantage of the security measures recommended by these providers. Always use long, difficult passwords, a password manager, anti-virus/anti-malware software, and keep your blogs updated with the latest version of your chosen web browser. I also monitor my e-mail for suspicious messages and never open unfamiliar notices, especially those with attachments. Finally, I make it a practice of limiting my social media presence–no phone numbers, no family information, and no addresses. While this approach is far from perfect, I’m receiving virtually no spam, advertisements, and promotional pitches on my websites or through my email. Good luck in keeping your data safe. Being a victim of data theft is no fun.
For a comprehensive, detailed review of trends in cybersecurity, terrorism, geopolitical intelligence, and strategic forecasting, please visit my Daily Intelligence Digest at: https://paper.li/f-1482109921.
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Opinions expressed in this blog are mine unless otherwise stated.
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Until next time,
Hawaii Intelligence Digest