Hundred of millions of people across the world use the Internet on mobile devices , high-tech laptops and storage devices every day, something that has made it much easier for someone to mine your data and use sensitive information against your wise.
“Attacks are escalating across the data-driven, mobile, Internet and cloud-based services. Cyber criminals and hackers increasingly are experimenting with different types of malware based attacks on their victims.” Says report, Cyber-resilience Health Check, published by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) this year
Many people particularly Journalists are fond of using these devises in their day to day work and the fact that they share sensitive information, they are at high risk of being targets through cyber crimes and above all losing sensitive data.
Your online security.
A new term, cyber hygiene, has become popular in the media in recent years related to individuals and organizations taking steps to prevent cyber crime.
Patrck Mutahi, a senior programme officer at Article 19 and a research fellow at the center of human rights and policy studies confirms that journalists face a multi-fold challenge of surveillance and malware programs which are highly becoming sophisticated by the day.
In high risk contexts-like investigative journalism where a reporter gathers sensitive information either on corrupt government officials or organized crime, requires one to be more vigilant especially by coming up with strong passwords and protecting their internet presence with digital encryption avenues.
“We all have a culture of using personal information, common names, word, login names or keyboard patterns such as “asdfghjkl” “zxcvbnm,./” “qwerty” “1234567890” which are weak and easily broken into.” Mutahi said.
Cyber security experts say that up to 90 percent of attacks can be prevented by doing basics such as keeping software up to date.
Microsoft firmly advice for a strong password with more than 10 characters not to mention uppercase letters, lowercase letters and symbol with use of phrases instead of the words common to you.
These phrases can be from a favorite songs, poems, movies or even billboards you pass on your way to work or business every day. You can also fortify this by replacing letters with matching number-number “3” in place of “E”, “4” in place of A or “7” in place of “T”.
Another way to ensure passwords don’t contain personal information is by using password generators. Site like Strong Password Generator and Dice Ware allows you to quickly create a random and strong password instantly.
“Whichever method, what’s important is your data and devices will be protected from malware that try to crack your password best known in digital security parlance as Brute Force Attacks. And remember, the longer the password the more resistant it is to these attacks” according to IT experts.
It’s also advisable never to recycle passwords in multiple accounts. “Passwords are like underware” according to Eric Griffin from PCmag. “ you should change them frequently. One may wonder how is it possible to remember all your passwords keeping in mind the need to vary them to secure your data.” He says.
Easy, Keepass Password Safe is one password manager software that puts all your passwords in a highly encrypted database and locks them with one single master password. As a result you only need one single password to unlock the whole database. It’s even more effective since you can copy and paste the password securing your account from key logging software.
Additionally, its advisable never to use your password to open your account in an open or hotspot network.
“always use an antivirus software to detect malware, beware of cameras that might be recording what you type on the keyboard and people who might be looking over your shoulder when typing your password. If you suspect that your account has been hacked, change your password immediately and lastly beware of social engineering.” added Mr Mutahi during Baraka FM staff training workshop in Mombasa.
However, individuals and organizations that follow good cyber hygiene practices have more peace of mind. It is no different than monitoring your health and scheduling your automobile’s maintenance, according Mathew Held ,an IT expert and CEO Manawa Networks
“People who practice good cyber hygiene habits get more done, are happier and spend less time troubleshooting because they have fewer surprises. When they have to call an expert, it is usually about a serious issue.” He concluded