Not all modern security solutions are a hundred percent effective against hackers.
Did you know that over 70 percent of people in the US fear that hackers will access their personal or financial information? This is a perfectly valid concern. Now more than ever, cybercrime is a major threat to both consumers and organizations.
If an online retailer or financial service provider suffers an attack or data breach, there isn’t much you can do about it. You might change your account details, contact your bank or freeze your credit. But ultimately, defending against that kind of attack is in the hands of the company.
On the other hand, there is an ever-growing number of security risks that hit closer to home. Your data can be rendered useless by ransomware or stolen by a trojan. Adware can fill your device with malicious content, while spyware can compromise your privacy. The list goes on.
Fortunately, you can implement a range of simple and affordable security measures to better defend against these threats. Not all of these security solutions are effective and some can actually decrease your security in certain cases.
Before we look into those, let’s discuss a few tried-and-trusted security solutions that provide reliable protection.
Increasing Your Security Solutions Effectively
Start by ensuring that all of your software and operating systems are kept updated automatically. This is particularly important for any antivirus programs that you use, as the latest version is updated with new virus definitions.
While the default Windows Defender app is built into your desktop, it is wise to use a third-party app for an added layer of protection. Here are some of the leading vendors whose security suites that you can download:
Another basic measure to take is to use unique passwords for all of your accounts. Remember to follow the best practices for setting secure passwords, which include having at least eight characters with a mixture of cases, letters, numbers, and special symbols that together don’t resemble any real word or identifying information.
Even better is to store your passwords in a secure password management tool such as LastPass or 1Password, which are capable of automatically generating and saving complicated passwords for you. Don’t forget to enable two-factor authentication on websites where the feature is available.
An increasingly popular home and business security solution are proxies.
A proxy server is essentially an intermediary between your network and the one you are connecting to. By routing your request through the proxy, your IP address remains hidden and malicious websites can be filtered out. The most reliable type is known as a residential proxy and you can learn more about them here.
Listed below are a few more security measures to consider:
- Adjust your privacy settings on social media platforms
- Avoid opening suspicious emails from unknown senders
- Backup and encrypt your sensitive files
- Regularly clear your web browsing data
- Stay clear of public Wi-Fi networks
Of course, there is a lot more to protecting your data and devices than what we discussed, and your needs will depend on your circumstances.
It is wise to do some extra research and see which modern security tools are relevant to you. That said, let’s take a look at the modern security solutions that have surprising flaws.
1. Home Security Cameras
While they are an integral part of any home security setup, surveillance cameras can actually harm your safety more than they help. A growing number of reports are appearing on criminals hacking into modern camera systems, particularly smart cameras that allow remote monitoring, to determine if anyone is home.
They can do this by simply viewing the data that was uploaded online by the camera and not even the footage itself. Studies have found that the traffic generated by these devices contains information that may compromise the owner’s privacy. This is especially true when the uploaded data is unencrypted.
Achieving this requires a fair bit of technical expertise. However, there is a chance that someone could develop software that does this automatically, before selling it to criminals online.
They can then use the software to determine when to carry out a burglary or to spy on occupants. It is up to companies to better secure their products. For instance, data can be randomly injected into their systems so that hackers are less able to identify patterns.
At the end of the day, if you need to buy smart security camera systems, it is best to research and compare your options first to find out which is best protected.
2. Facial Recognition
Whether it is a security measure at work or the way you access your smartphone, you probably use some form of facial recognition on a regular basis. In many ways, this technology is a great innovation that vastly improves convenience. However, facial recognition can also decrease your security.
The team at cybersecurity firm McAfee challenged themselves to see if they could bypass the facial recognition system commonly used at airports to verify passports. With machine learning, they were able to create an image that was identified as one person by the facial recognition algorithm and another to the human eye.
In theory, this would allow someone on the no-fly list to hop on board. The demonstration was made possible by an image translation algorithm known as CycleGAN.
This technology has a powerful ability to morph images. For instance, it can make a photo look like it was painted by Picasso, or a picture of a forest in summer appear to be taken in winter.
While this raises concerns about the trustworthiness of facial recognition technology, there are happily some caveats. One is that the researchers didn’t use the exact algorithm employed by the airport and that it would be difficult for any hacker to access it. Plus, it takes a great deal of time, resources, and training to perform such a breach.
Nonetheless, this case highlights the potential for flaws and loopholes in seemingly secure technologies.
It is clear that when it comes to modern security solutions, sometimes less is more. Always remember to perform due diligence when choosing a new technology or service to protect your information, as they aren’t always what they appear to be.
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I am Adeyemi Adetilewa, a media consultant, entrepreneur, husband, and father. Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Ideas Plus Business Magazine, online business resources for entrepreneurs. I help brands share unique and impactful stories through the use of public relations, advertising, and online marketing. My work has been featured on the Huffington Post, Thrive Global, Addicted2Success, Hackernoon, The Good Men Project, and other publications.