5 Mandatory Steps for Protecting Data From Eavesdroppers

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Every day we hear news reports in the mainstream media about social network hackingmalware,malicious account takeovers and protecting data. It doesn’t matter if you are the average Joe Blow or a huge corporation like Burger King, everyone is being targeted these days.

Cyber criminals are searching for everything from your banking and financial info to your email,Facebook and and other social networking passwords. Luckily there are technologies and a few simple practices that can help you stay safer online, as well as offline.

Here are 5 Mandatory Steps that you should follow for protecting data from hacking and eavesdroppers….

1. IMPORTANT: Use Strong Encryption To Protect Your Files

Encryption is the process of encoding a message, or any other data, in such a way that eavesdroppers or hackers cannot read it, but authorized parties can. Today there are many options that provide both software and hardware encryption solutions for protecting your data.

TrueCrypt is a free open source software that provides automatic, real-time (on-the-fly) and transparent data encryption. With TrueCrypt you can encrypt a single partition or an entire storage device such as USB flash drive or hard drive.

The safest way to use TrueCrypt is to encrypt the entire storage device or hard drive. At a bare minimum, the partition or drive where Windows is installed should be encrypted.

For those of you who don’t want to install software, there are also several military-grade storage devices that provide hardware-based encryption for data protection. By doing a simple search on Google I was able to find the following 6 options that provide strong hardware-based encryption:

A couple of weeks ago I was able to personally review the DataLocker DL3 encrypted hard drive and I really liked the fact that it was so incredibly easy to use. It also had a lot of cool features like the touch screen display and self destruct mechanism. As DataLocker put it so eloquently, this encrypted hard drive is “Simply Secure”.

Regardless of which encryption solution you decide to use, it is important to remember that this is a mandatory first step in securing your data from prying eyes.

2. CRITICAL: Create A Bulletproof Password

The next step towards reducing the threat of online identity theft should come in the form of a very secure password. The majority of account hacks reported each day are do to the use of insecure passwords. Hackers often make use of automated software and huge word dictionaries in order to brute force account passwords. Using the 15 tips below, you should create a very strong, unique password for every site that you visit on the Internet.

A strong password:

  • has 15 or more characters
  • has uppercase letters
  • has lowercase letters
  • has numbers
  • has symbols, such as ~ ` ! @ # $ % ^ & * ( ) _ – = + [ ] { } | ; : ‘ ” , . < > \ / ?
  • is not like your previous passwords
  • is not your name
  • is not your government ID number
  • is not your birthday or that of a family member
  • is not your login or user name
  • is not your friend’s name
  • is not your family member’s name
  • is not your pet’s name
  • is not a common name
  • is not a dictionary word

If you have a hard time coming up with a strong password on your own, you can always use a password generator like theiPassword Generator or the free secure password generator found at PasswordsGenerator.net.

Once you have created your password you should store it on an encrypted hard drive to keep it safe. This is the single best way to limit your exposure to online account takeovers and hackers.

Where appropriate, you might consider using a two-factor authentication mechanism like Duo:Security orGoogle’s 2-step validation as an added layer of security.

3. CRUCIAL: Hide Your Password From Prying Eyes

Once you have created a strong password you will need to keep it in a secure place away from prying eyes.

The simplest answer, while managing to achieve at least some acceptable level of security, is to create a password list and store it on an encrypted storage device.

A better answer is to install password management software like LastPass or KeePass on your encrypted drive. Both of these applications are free and they allow you to store all of your passwords in a single encrypted database.

LastPass runs natively on all major platforms including Windows, Mac and Linux. KeePass is geared primarily for Windows users, however the developer’s website claims it has also been tested on Wine. Wine is a compatibility layer that allows you to run Windows applications on Linux, BSD, Solaris and Mac OS X.

The combination of an encrypted hard drive AND password management software provides the best solution for keeping your password list safe from hackers and eavesdroppers.

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