Singapore experienced the worst cyber-attack in the country’s history. Medical records of 1.5 million citizens were exposed by the hackers, SingHealth reported. Sadly, the victims had to find out that national services which collect the most sensitive information lack the competence to protect it. Magnus Steinberg, Chief Technology Officer at Surfshark, recommends 5 easy steps to help you stay safer and more private online.
According to reports, 1.5 million records were ‘accessed and copied,’ including their national ID numbers, addresses, and dates of birth. Although authorities claim no patient records (such as test results, doctors’ notes, etc.) were breached, the Integrated Health Information Systems (IHiS), which is responsible for running Singapore’s public healthcare institutions’ IT systems, noticed ‘unusual activity’ only a week after the actual breach.
‘Online security might sound like a complicated thing, but it is not when you follow a few simple but important rules. You don’t need a degree in cybersecurity to protect your sensitive information’, claims Steinberg, and suggests 5 simple privacy protection checks which are easy for anyone to understand and protect one’s digital identity.
Don’t share too much
Do not share anything you wouldn’t say to a stranger. What you put online, stays there forever and goes from hands to hands. Companies who get a hold of your data can do whatever they wish without obtaining your consent. Even if they did get your consent, you could never be sure what happens with your personal information.
Control your passwords
There’s a popular internet meme about our passwords – treat them like your underwear. It means, do not share them, don’t leave them lying around, and change them often. Also, these easy steps should help:
- Make passwords long. Since hackers use dictionary attacks, try capitalizing letters, misspelling the words. It goes without saying – don’t use your name, surname or other personally relatable words;
- Don’t use a common phrase. Again, hackers use dictionary attacks, and common phrases can be an easy target;
- Don’t reuse. Remembering different passwords can be a hassle, but if you want your sensitive information secure, it’s the price you have to pay;
- Use a password manager. It will help you stop picking all the wrong passwords.
Use a VPN
A virtual private network Surfshark is a robust tool to protect your online identity. It hides your data from scammers by encrypting it. VPN makes it impossible for snoopers to track your online activities or steal your sensitive data (like addresses, passwords, bank account details, etc.). Trusted VPN providers use latest encryption standards which can take billions of years to be decrypted. Moreover, reliable VPN services guarantee a strict no logs policy – they don’t monitor, record or handle your private information in any way.
Don’t submit to marketing clichés
Marketers know the value of certain propositions, and they use tricks to make you give up the information yourself. They tempt you by offering discounts, free trials or unlimited services in exchange for personal data. The more data they own – the more precise their marketing can be. Also, your data can be sold to third parties over and over again, so it never really loses its value.
Staying safe online requires some level of knowledge. But don’t worry, it doesn’t mean you have to become an expert – just the necessary knowledge is more than enough.