Module 8: Security

Before this module I hadn’t thought much about my security. I personally have never been hacked. I think this is a disadvantage because if you’ve never been hacked you don’t think about getting hacked. I didn’t realize just how easy it is to steal information and what that could mean for me as an individual.

The steps I plan to take to ensure my security are pretty straightforward. I’m going to stop using the same password for everything. I already did this for my online banking but outside of that most of my passwords are the same if not very similar. Strong passwords are unique passwords that aren’t simply ‘password123’. The Google Help Center gives some really good suggestions to make your password stronger. They suggest using a longer password such a quote or song lyric. The do not suggest using personal information like your pets name or your nickname.

I am also going to try encrypting my laptop. I had never thought of doing this before but The Intercept breaks down why if can be helpful. One of the reasons they mention is that it can protect your computer and sensitive data from hackers.  I like this article because it break down how to encrypt your laptop depending on your operating system (OS). Depending on your OS the process is pretty straightforward.

Another thing I’m going to do to beef up my security is reevaluate the browser extensions I have. I need to read through the terms to see if they are spying on me like Amazon does according the Washington Post. I’m really bad about reading the terms of service (TOS) and privacy policies for the apps, extensions, and devices I use. Getting better about this will help me to make better informed decision about my security.

The last thing I plan to do is to stop using public wi-fi without a virtual private network (VPN). I never really saw the danger in using public wi-fi until this module’s readings. VPN’s help you stay safe while browsing on a public network. I had only ever heard of using VPN’s while traveling to foreign countries to gain access to websites that are banned. Life Hacker created a spreadsheet to help you choose the best VPN for you.

These steps may seem minimal or obvious but for me they are huge steps in the right direction. I can say I felt pretty safe when it came to my technology but this module opened my eyes. I realized that just because I haven’t been hacked doesn’t mean I’m necessarily doing something right. Security should be taken as seriously as possible. These steps will help me on that journey.