Digital Security: 5 Reasons to Stay Alert (2020)

internet screen security protection

What are reasons for digital security?

I’m glad you asked! Don’t you think it is time we start taking back our rights? Many people feel like we are already exposed enough. They think that giving up is the best solution. NOT SO!! Take a gander at these helpful steps to fortify YOUR digital security. It will not only $ave your distant future, but quite possibly your tomorrow!

1. Financial Safety

Government, Assets, and Passwords

First off, how many banks and other companies that have been hacked or been managed poorly over the last 5 years? Also, taxes can take out 15% or more of your take home pay, and now government stupidity tax (oops, I mean inflation) is taking AT LEAST 2% more. That number can be way higher in select countries (see Venezuela and Turkey)! Did I mention this is your future livelihood we are talking about?

And don’t get me started on the buddy-buddy system between the government and the banks. Did I mention that governments like money? But in terms of digital security, what can we do?

Furthermore, when it comes to keeping money safe online, many people still are too lax with their login information. And even if it is protected well, your password might be ‘FluffyBunny53’… Which any hacker can quite easily figure out, believe it or not. In walks digital security.

Digital security is the single most effective way to ensure that your money stays within your reach, and not **gasp** lost forever!! Whether thieves or bad memory contributes to this, it shouldn’t have to be this way.

Solutions:

It is a good hedge to put some of your money into something other than cash. Gold, real estate, or Bitcoin are stores of value that are sure to outlast any single government. And as for Financial institutions, they must be FFIEC standardized. And being FDIC insured or equivalent is a major plus! You don’t want a supposedly safe, reputable bank losing any of your hard earned money, do you?

Make sure you enable 2 Factor Authentication (2FA) (see Google or Authy) located in your bank’s settings page on their website. You basically just install an app on your phone that gives you an extra code each time you login. And mobile apps make this an even more convenient process. And please change your ‘FluffyBunny53’ password for the love of everything good in the world!

I HIGHLY recommend a Password Manager like LastPass, a one stop shop that securely holds all of your passwords so that you only have to remember 1 Master Password. Updating your current passwords with their complex password generator is a BONUS!! And utilizing 2FA for LastPass is a DOUBLE BONUS!!!

Congratulations, you are now harder to hack than 99.9% of people. Your money is no longer ‘easy money’ for hackers.

2. Job Security

Social Media, Settings, and Businesses

If you have ever had a formal job, there is a background check that is done that checks your permanent criminal record. And your tax records are kept/held against you for the last 7 years as well. Now, I’d feel safe if I knew the person across the checkout counter wasn’t a homicidal maniac just as much as the next guy. But if we keep a permanent record of everybody’s social media posts to determine employment status… That’s a problem.

Business are nowadays trying to save face by dropping employees and their “offensive” (not even illegal) status updates. It is better if businesses don’t have any record of your personal life. Business isn’t supposed to be personal (right?…gulp). Take back control of your job in terms of digital security!!

Solutions:

Go into your social media settings (see here for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Tik Tok) and set them to the most restrictive that you can. Only friends and family you trust should be able to see your posts and updates. We’re not there to impress outsiders, are we?

3. Online Privacy

Because Data is Valuable

In terms of where your personal data lives (i.e. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, calls, texts, DMs, smartphone GPS), there is little that is not known about your everyday life. You’d be surprised what a company, government, or the hacker next door can tell about your life… without even knowing the content of your data.

The Metadata: When you do something, Where you go, and Who you go with is MUCH more interesting than what it is about. Humans are quite predictable, and this can be extorted long-term. So, shouldn’t we just give up since it’s already out there? Heck NO! Our digital security and safety is much too valuable, not just for out lives, but for our future!

Government Overstep

There is a saying “The squeaky wheel gets the grease”, and the wheel is not only squeaking, it is wailing! At what point is it okay to spy on your neighbor? Isn’t it called stalking when somebody taps your phone line? Can’t they be arrested and get a restraining order for violating your personal safety? So why aren’t these business and the government not getting the same treatment?

You can go down the road and fully believe in a benevolent government all you want, but more than likely you are a Democrat or Republican and you are giving up your rights with the ‘wrong’ party in office every 4 years or so. And while they are talking about taking away your 2nd amendment right to bear arms (that means have guns y’all), you should be more concerned about them having already violated your 4th amendment!! YOUR DATA IS YOUR PROPERTY. PERIOD.

And hey, I get that you like the conveniently communicating with your brother-in-law’s 2nd cousin’s kitty cat every 4th Thursday of the month. But is it really worth you surrendering your Constitutional Rights? Can’t we function more like a democracy instead of a global data business?

Solutions:

Go into your social media settings (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Tik Tok) and set them to the most restrictive you can. And then maybe go ahead and delete your account, because THEY HAVE NO BOUNDARIES!! Also, Tik Tok’s parent company is based out of China, need I say more??

I’m telling you, as an existing user, LastPass is a lifesaver when it comes to online privacy. Having a different complex password for each website ensures that ‘FluffyBunny53’ is no longer a concern. And you can sleep well at night.

4. Children and their Digital Future

Good Parenting, Family Well-Being

Being a good parent means passing down not only a legacy, but also security. And today, that means Digital Security. Parenting is something near and dear to me as I am raising 2 daughters (#girldad) with 1 on the way!! And as I watch them interact with their Android tablets (because they’re cheap and can be replaced!), I think to myself “Gee, I wonder how they are going to interpret the world they will live in?” Technology. Duh! When I was growing up we had a bike, fresh air, and freedom baby!

But this up and coming Generation Z is going to be in a fully connected, technological world. I have an Oculus Quest that they have tried, and guess what? They want to play it every time I get it out! EVERY TIME!! (So I secretly have to play it after bedtime, shhh!) But really, passing down our knowledge to our kids is highly valued. So along with building a strong work ethic and being smart, why wouldn’t that include knowing how to digitally protect themselves?

Suffice it to say, I cannot overstate enough how critical it is going to be to protect the coming generations from digital safety dangers. Along with the solutions above, I think these children specific tips should be stressed.

Solutions:

My first tip would be to make sure your kids are safe from potentially harmful content from: Amazon, Google, and Apple (links go to support pages). I use the first two, so I can vouch for them. I cannot tell you the peace of mind I have because I am able to disable apps, or utilize Amazon’s FreeTime Unlimited which is curated for certain age ranges.

Second, I suggest sitting them down every so often and going over ground rules for how to interact with Ads that popup during videos and games. In addition, setting a basis for what types of videos and games that should be scrutinized based on your family’s values will also be helpful.

And last here, but certainly not least, is for older kids. As a parent, I see that many parents fail their kids due to the lack of being involved like in my previous tip. Bottom line, today’s parents lack knowledge of how their “innocent” kids utilize their technology these days. But having a Parental Control app like Kaspersky’s Safe Kids is basically a no brainer! Yes, you may have to pay monthly for it, but just think of the digital safety it provides for your children! They may think they “need their privacy”, but I guarantee that they will be grateful for it in the long run.

5. Instant Trust

Relationships are No Longer the Same

With so many new relationships between strangers and emerging companies, trust must rely on something besides long-term relationships. The digital age is focused on instantaneous transactions and relationships. You must be aware of what makes a person trustworthy, or a company as a reliable. What certifications or protocols are the industry standard? What levels of encryption is suitable? How would my personal digital security be compromised otherwise?

Well, to be sure, different industries have different standards. So the one-size-fits-all isn’t really an option unfortunately. And for example, if you meet a person in an expensive business suit, you are more likely to trust them than if they just look like a hobo on the side of the road. So, while appearances can be helpful, they can also be deceiving!! And don’t think for a second that these 21st century scam artists haven’t gotten better over the years!

Solutions:

By far the most obvious attacks are email phishing scams. So make sure the formatting of the email looks correct, they aren’t asking for a username and password, and most importantly (PRO TIP!), make sure the email address itself (not the display name) is from the actual institution. You can see this by click the sender’s profile at the top of your email.

Furthermore, when signing up for an account on any Financial, Social Media, or Business, you should take a look to see if they are insured, encrypted, and reputable. So what does this mean? So, for Financial institutions, they must be FFIEC standardized. Being FDIC insured or equivalent is a major plus! Any public website or applications needs to be HTTPS secured with a valid certificate. And businesses should really have their online presence look like they have put in effort since the 1990’s. This meaning that responsive and well designed websites should indicate that they have put effort into **hopefully** securing their user’s data. Seriously, don’t bother otherwise. Otherwise your digital security could be put into question. Less sleep. More worry.

Start right now and take the first few steps into securing not only your money, but your data… Which is what is really valuable!!

**The above references an opinion and is for information purposes only. It is not intended to be investment advice. Seek a duly licensed professional for investment advice.

Published by Michael Aaron Kelly

I am a Software Developer currently working in the Financial space. I have a wonderful family with a wife and 2 silly daughters. And my interests include gaming (Call of Duty and Rocket League), investing, thinking (like the staring into space kind), and self-development.

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