Before I enrolled as a media studies major here at ASU, I was not very active with the Internet or social media. I would not even use Facebook because I read my information is shared with others for advertising purposes. The more I used the Internet, the more my personal information would be tracked and available to everyone. I felt that my privacy would no longer be mine so that I would opt out of everything.
I worked for over twenty years in the banking industry, and the two factors that were the number one priority were our clients’ accounts security and privacy. Phishing and impersonations of other companies and services; are called social engineering; they were the culprits. Data thieves use links, emails, phone calls to breach security. Advising clients to be suspicious and skeptical when using social media and the Internet; you never know who is trying to fool you into giving your information away. But witnessing clients’ issues with hackers and identity theft, I did not want to experience their horror stories. The method of my digital media security was NOT to use it.
I don’t trust most of the information that I read on the Internet, even if it states it for my protection. I believe hidden agendas or tracking technologies like web cookies collect info from browsing and use them in stalker ads, contest applications, and discount coupons, so I avoid them. The lack of regulations and transparency allow these practices to continue. (the crunch) The reading about Security and Privacy in this class validates how vulnerable I am to become a victim of losing my personal information.
After taking a digital media literacy class, I became braver. I started a Facebook page, but no Twitter or Instagram yet. But reading the articles and listening to the lectures has helped educate me; there are ways to protect myself while using the Internet. I am changing my approach from fearing the Internet by educating myself on how to protect my data. I am researching and finding out how to secure my information by finding articles that explain how it’s done. That way, I can use the Internet with confidence, insured protection, and understanding.
It seems encryption is an excellent place to start setting up for security and privacy protection. Encrypt data while it’s moving from one device to another. End-to-end encryption means no one can eavesdrop or listen in; it’s much more robust security than the transport layer encryption. Encrypt data on devices. Full disk encryption protects from physical break-ins, and the information stored on your device is protected using passwords or login methods. Encrypt data while on devices, and while it’s in transit, transport-layer encryption protects the message in transition.
Next, Cleaning reviews apps and site permissions pages for services like Google and Facebook to ensure which apps access your private information. It is surprising to see how many are permitted. It’s a good practice to check this throughout the year. Update software is a critical security routine. “The software has vulnerabilities that the developers find out about later, so updating the software patches the openings that hackers use to get into your system.”(Gillmor) I am using the data from the Verge link, which shows how to set up (2FA) on my Facebook and macOS. The two-factor authorizations, (2FA) can use text, email, or an authenticator app to prevent your account from being used by unauthorized individuals. The process is using a second device to authenticate the user as an added protection layer.
Don’t ever use public wifi unless you use a VPN. The VPN is a private virtual network that is not open to others; therefore, it shields your data. When browsing the web using a VPN, your computer connects with an encrypted connection to websites with a secure connection. This prevents hackers from seeing your information or what you are currently viewing. Backing up my files is something that I will be doing now. I had a Windows laptop for years, but I never knew there was a built-in backup. I recently got a Mac with a Time Machine; I will not make the same mistake and not know how to use that feature. Losing your information is just as bad as it is becoming compromised, in my opinion. I need to have protection for social engineering – I need to install firewalls, anti-virus, and email filters. Take advantage of anti-phisher features offered by web browsers and use multi-factor authentications. This will help prevent phishing and other intrusions on my private data.
I still am leery about using the Internet, but educating myself through the digital media literacy class has given me information to protect my data. I have found out that I don’t have to know everything, but now I know more definitions and social media terms to look for and find out more about them. When researching security and privacy, a good practice is to fact-check privacy and security sources.
Gillmor, Dan. (October 12, 2013) Protecting yourself online isn’t as easy as it used to be, but it can be done. Retrieved October 7, 2020 https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/oct/12/software-updates-increase-security-cybercrime