Data Security – Part 1

Since the internet began, we have grown more and more dependent on it. It’s awesome! It enables you to sync your applications, documents, calendars over multiple platforms; connect and share with others no matter your physical location; and a learning tool for almost anything you want. It also holds our photos, metadata and other confidential information… so why are we using our childrens’ names as passwords!?

How guilty are you of this?

Our false sense of cyber-security is tantamount to that of car-safety… we know it happens, people warn us about its consequences of happening, but we refuse to believe it will happen to us.

Sydney Morning Herald recently published an article comprising people pushing for a two-tier vefirication system after their phones had been remotely wiped by hackers. A wiped phone is more an inconvenience than a car accident, however these are the lucky ones compared to those whose have their bank details hacked or their very private photos made very very public.

Described above were user-targeted attacks, affecting only a minority of internet users.
Company-targeted attacks are a much bigger issue. In 2012, LinkedIn were subject to a cyber attack compromising 117 million accounts. LinkedIn were so oblivious to their own security flaws that this number was thought only to be 6.5 million at the time of the attack, four years ago!
More recently, Ashley Madison (and its admittedly catchy ad) were subject to a data breach that preceded many awkward household conversations.
You may barely use Linked-In, and I should hope never Ashley Madison, and feel like these issues are overhyped. You may feel safe from the companies’ public statements. LinkedIn’s response to their data-breach was just for people to change their passwords whilst Ashley Madison merely absorbed the publicity. Changing your password might seem easy, but if you’re someone who uses the same password for everything… your LinkedIn profile may be the least of your worries.

Out of curiousity before continuing with the slighty-more science heavy part-two of this post, I’d like you to fill out this thirty-second survey to provide me with some context (it’s the same link as in the second paragraph). This survey does not ask you to enter your password. Never enter your password into a Google-form. Never.

Thanks for reading!



6 Responses to “Data Security – Part 1”

  1. nzegarra says:

    I hope never be hacked since I don´t protect too much my accounts. I have so many and I don´t know what password to use!! I don´t even remember which password corresponds to which account…
    And about the Ashley Maddison website, sure it has a catchy add, wow, I couldn´t believe such a website exists!

  2. romeron says:

    Well, i’m looking forward to reading part 2! Thanks Alexis.

  3. alexiswl says:

    Great question! In my next post I will introduce a piece of freeware that I use to keep my passwords ‘safe’. They’re not 100% safe but it’s significantly better than the status quo. Passwords may well and truly be a temporary thing, who knows, one day we may have retina scanners on our phones and computers, or genetic identification scanners. There’s no reason these cannot also be hacked through a ‘back door’ though. You’re right in that the knowledge of your LinkedIn login details does not give anyone a great deal of power.. but if you use the same password for everything, then you might be in trouble and this is what this two-part blogpost is trying to raise awareness of!

  4. alexiswl says:

    Yes, this post is merely a pre-amble and I just want some statistics/context for the next one.
    Maybe I should put the link up the top too?

  5. romeron says:

    I am totally guilty of using a variation of the same password. In the past when I have heard about these data breeches, I am usually not very concerned as I feel my life is quite boring! Who would want to hack my LinkedIn!?

    But it is a little scary to think of hackers getting in my bank account or deleting personal files. This has inspired me to change some of my passwords!

    It seems that people are getting more creative in finding new way to hack websites, phones and computers. Do you think we will ever get to the point where our personal information/data is totally secure?

  6. Arun says:

    Survey? Interactive!