Cyber Security Learnings & 2018 Resolutions

Some hard learnings from 2017 has led me to taking these resolutions for conducting my 2018 online life

  1. Scammers are getting Smarter: If you read my previous post, you will probably have realized that scammers are like the dreaded hydra; kill one scam off completely and they find another way to come back into our lives! I’ve had quite a few run-ins with phishing attacks and seen someone close falling to one such attack because of a silly gaffe!
  2. Trust is under-rated: One of my colleagues bet big on a fledgling spin-off of a Chinese trading site and ended up losing all of her well earned gains from last year. In short, if you are dealing with any third party (even trusted site) over the internet do not expect them to stay clean forever. They are human too!
  3. It is easy to let your guard down: Around an year ago, I received a text from the tax authority confirming details about my tax filing. In order to get my tax returns I needed to input some info in their website. I felt awkward that they were asking for all sorts of info – from my passport details to my card numbers. I realised that the URL characters used on this website I was in was very close to the income tax site URL. Even more worrisome was the fact that they knew I had filed my tax a few weeks ago. In short, I almost fell for a well timed scam.
  4. The Web is not running away anywhere: As an extension of the above point, if you get an email or text with very important link that needs a login or filling card details, stop browsing on your phone and complete whatever it is you want to do on a real computer. It is impossible to overstate how mature website spoofing has become. Your lenders and billers can wait for half a day more – the world won’t end!

Now, I am not a cyber security expert. That’s good in a way, because this post will stay layman friendly ?. Please treat this post as a continually developing lesson.

Below are some items that I plan to practice throughout this year. I am publishing these with a two way intent.

I hope that someone who is new to this topic can learn from my post. My points should be easy to adhere to for the everyday Joe. But more importantly, I am hoping to see further useful suggestions come in through the comments.

Alas! We tend to stay within our comfort zone. So I will humbly request that this article is not treated as a kind of recipe by any measure. In fact, I have tried practising few of the below points and failed a few times already.

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Author: Rajesh Narayanan

A small speck of dust in the ever expanding ether

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