The Chinese threat and how to protect Yourself.
Posted by Kevin Gesterling
With being on the internet becoming more and more accessible by the day, it is also becoming more dangerous. It is hard to keep yourself and your private information safe. And with the latest threat by China causing a big stir, people are looking out for themselves more now than ever.
But are people doing enough? And what can be done differently than what you aren’t already doing?
The following seems like pretty basic stuff but some people still do not know it. And if you have been a victim of an account hack, you will know that is a pain to deal with and admittedly at one time or another I was part of the select group, I learned the hard way that getting your account back in a pain.
So here is what you should do when you are emailing or IM’ing someone on the computer to stay safe online:
1. When you go through your email everyday do not open stuff when you don’t know who the sender is (also there is more on this below as it relates to China’s cyber attack).
2. Change your password once every few months, this lessens the chance of an account hack which can be a real pain if you ever have your email hacked into by somebody.
3. Never give out personal information online, this can be used against you. Things to avoid giving out to others are passwords, your address, your full name, and pretty much anything else that can make you a vulnerable target for ID theft such as you Social Security number or PIN numbers for important accounts such as banking, or financial aid websites.
Like I said that seems pretty basic but some people still do not know these things, and they are the ones at a strong risk of being victimized by their own lack of knowledge in this day and age of the internet.
So what about Social networks? There is fine line that needs to be made here. Obviously Facebook requires a first and last name, so that is a lost cause right off the bat, however if you’re willing to give that out you may. Another thing you can do is make a fake name and go by that, the only drawback to that would be is having your friends not be able to find you. But then again it may have benefits all in itself as well.
The thing about these sites is they can be looked into by numerous agencies including the police, FBI, and a lot of other legal departments. Also, the stuff posted on Facebook and possibly other social web sites can also be used against you as evidence in court if you post about it before or after an event. Some might not know it, but postings have been used as evidence in the past and will continue to be. One thing that you need to remember is that being online offers you no privacy, so if you decide to post something stupid it stays on the internet for years even if you delete it, so be very careful about the things you post.
Now that the basics are covered and the real online life is pretty much revealed, lets talk about China and its cyber attack; during the last month there have been cyber attacks linked to the Chinese Government and the way it works is pretty sneaky, but with the help of this blog you can avoid becoming a victim of it.
Here is what happens; you log into your email address and you see something from a person with your friends name on it, but you will notice a weird headline, so you open the email and there is a link, seems appealing to the naked eye, you know the person so why not click it? Well that is where the problem actually lies, because it is a virus allowing your computer and your information to be compromised with a virus and/or Malware.
So how does one stay safe?
- As you can see in the picture above you can hoover your mouse over the name of the person and check out the email address, if the address checks out to be the same as the email you know the person has then it is probably safe to proceed.
- If you notice the email having a weird subject but it is your friends email account you will want to double check with the friend in another way if possible. This should be done to make sure the person sent the email and that the email account wasn’t hacked into.
- If you have opened the email from this “friend” it is not to late, if your gut feeling is that the link is dangerous, DO NOT CLICK IT! Instead delete the email and move on.
If you click on the link your best course of action is to run a virus scan, this could save you from being shut down for an extended period of time because of virus and malware problems. If you do not have a virus scanner then I would personally recommend Microsoft Security Essentials or Windows Defender for a Windows PC, on Mac you can pretty much use any of them but you want to avoid Microsoft Security Essentials because it is made more so for Windows based computers.
The goal of this blog is to protect you from being a victim to a hacking scheme by the Chinese. If I can prevent just one person from being hacked this blog has done its job.