A little-known fact among the public is that businesses often hire hackers to help them with their cybersecurity needs. Who better to give input as an authority than someone from that world?
To draw a line between the hackers with a criminal slant and those who are on the right side of the law, the tech community uses the terms white hat and black hat hackers. White hat hackers are considered ethical and are sought after for their expertise in computer security.
Fortunately, we can tap into some of that advice with an expert like Stephanie Carruthers, who also goes by the name “Snow”. She is a professional white hat hacker who helps companies and regular folks like us identify and steer clear of digital threats.
For someone like her, it’s easy spot to areas of weakness that allow attacks through your device’s door. By now, we all should know not to leave our passwords in plain view – especially if they’re written down somewhere. That goes for sticky notes, white boards, or adhesive labels stuck on monitors.
But what else should we be more vigilant about? Social media! Carruthers emphasizes asking yourself three questions before posting anything online and then decide whether it’s worth sharing. What’s on her checklist for casual users?
Question one: What information am I exposing? Pictures alone may tell too much. Carruthers cites that photos of keys can be used to duplicate a new set by nefarious hackers. Pics of items with personal info like drivers’ licenses and paychecks are also a big no-no. Geo-tags in pictures also let people know where you are and when.
Couple that with connections between family and friends that can be used to decode passwords. Your main Facebook crew can hold easily identifiable clues to your mom’s maiden name, birth dates, and your hometown.
To combat this threat, Carruthers urges people to lie about answers to security questions. For example, instead of giving your pet’s name, make one up!
Question two: What is showing up in the background or foreground of my photo? When you snap that selfie, check for visible pieces of information like WiFi passwords, personal identification, or passcodes hanging around. That goes for work-related information, your personal details, or that of your kids.
Question three: If I wanted revenge to get back at myself, what would I use? Hackers stalk your profiles like people do their exes and potential new friends. They’re looking for ways to access your accounts, your identity, and even your phone number. With your phone’s information, they can hijack the messages you send and receive. Not very secure, is it?
Tips for protecting yourself include: change your passwords frequently, limit yourself from placing your whole life online, and if possible, use two-step authentication for your accounts.
Carruthers also stressed that Facebook is the perfect target for hackers to go phishing, as the amount of information in your account is vulnerable. Tighten up, lose the geotags, and keep your kids safe too!
Are you familiar with white hat hackers? How well protected are you from cyber threats? Do you plan on changing things up after reading this?