Security Crisis Solved: More Secure Logins, Not Sharing Personal Information, and the Use of Encryption Software.

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Security Crisis Solved: More secure logins, not sharing personal information, and the use of encryption software. The internet is a constantly changing and evolving environment. From its earliest days in the late 60s, when the very first small networks were brought online, to today’s massive and long-reaching web of connection, change is one of the few things that can be reliably predicted. This change is not only fast, but also dangerous to those who don’t understand or fully appreciate its potential to damage them or society. As the internet evolves to do nearly everything but sustain life itself, security becomes paramount. Internet users need to be more aware of today’s increasing rate of cyber-attacks and should stop sharing their personal information, use more secure logins, and utilize encryption software to protect themselves from the cyber-crime. As are many important issues of today, this is a complex and multi-layered problem. “Cyber security” refers to either that of the individual, that of a website or business, or that of government agencies. The largest issue is the release of personal information, which happens with the security breach of personal accounts on an individual level, business records on a corporate level, or residence, tax, or employment information on a governmental level. It begins with the individual and the way they treat, view, and use internet services. The clichés that existed in the beginning of chat rooms and online services (“don’t give anyone your last name or any personal information”) seem to have died sometime overnight. My generation has apparently given up all right to internet privacy without a fight or second thought. People use social media as if it is their personal confession box at the expense of any discretion. Whether this is done out of pleas for validation, pity, or empathy is irrelevant; it has become popularized and accepted as standard practice. On the popular social media site Facebook, simply “Liking” a status or post can give a competent observer more information about the user than he or she could possibly imagine. In a recent Guardian article analyzing a Cambridge study that used computer algorithms to predict personal details about Facebook users, the author stated, The research into 58,000 Facebook users in the US found that sensitive personal characteristics about people can be accurately inferred from information in the public domain…Researchers were able to accurately infer a Facebook user's race, IQ, sexuality, substance use, personality or political views using only a record of the subjects and items they had "liked" on Facebook – even if users had chosen not to reveal that information. (Halliday) Users of these services are disclosing more then they think. On the internet, everything has the potential to be permanent; storage capacity is virtually unlimited. Deleting profiles and other things left strewn in servers is much more difficult than one might think. At one time, people confided in one another through disclosure and built trust, and thus created strong interpersonal relationships. This forfeiting of all privacy on the individual’s part puts the user at a very large data security risk. But not only is personal information disclosed with a loose tongue (or fingers), many people are failing to give it some of the only protection that is within their control. Oftentimes, passwords or phrases are short, containing common (or easily guessable) combinations of letters, numbers, or words. Additionally, the same password is commonly used for years. In 2011, a survey published by Daily Finance revealed that a staggering 59.9% of respondents reportedly never changed their passwords, compared to 13.9% changing them once per year, and 11.8% changing them once per month (Nance-Nash). This is a very poor practice that greatly increases a users’ vulnerability. It is also very common for an individual to use the same one or two passwords...
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