Online Security and Privacy

We live in a day and age where anybody can post about anything online, instantaneously. Sometimes, having this access to knowledge or ability to post, is a great tool to have at our fingertips. And then, sometimes, it’s not.

Just think about it. If it is that easy to post, tweet, blog, etc all of this information, then how easy is it for a skilled hacker to steal this information and other confidential information?

So how do we as communication professionals try to protect ourselves and our companies from potential hackers? We need to think about some practices that we take to ensure that our online content stays secure and private.

In an article on Wired.com, “Three Essential Steps to Make Yourself More Hack-Proof“, it says that you can never be truly 100% safe from a hacker but you can try to make yourself less vulnerable. Their three simple steps are to not reuse passwords, setup two-step authentication, and use a password manager.

Do Not Reuse Passwords

This one is pretty self-explanatory. If someone attains a password that is used multiple times, then they have the password to multiple accounts that you control.

Two-Step Authentication

Two-step authentication can sound fairly intimidating. However, it is actually a very beneficial tool that is becoming more and more common these days. All it means is that when you try to login to an account from a different device (desktop computer, laptop, cell phone, etc) it will send a code to a trusted device that must be entered by the user.

Use a Password Manager

A password manager will help you create and store your passwords for your accounts. These passwords will be encrypted and all you will ever need to know is the master password for the password manager. This allows you to use multiple complex passwords without having to worry about remembering so many different passwords. It is best if the password manager is stored locally, preferably, on a flash drive, that way only you can access it when the flash drive is being accessed.

So what does this mean?

These concepts and tools will be beneficial to communication professionals because they will be directly involved with confidential or important information for the company that they are working for. Therefore, they should look to apply these ideas to their work accounts so that they are better protected against a hack or leak of information.

Also, when people feel that their information is not as private as it once was, they are less likely to share information or engage in public discourse. This leads to a less democratic society because there is a lack of information to be shared or discussed. Finally, if people don’t feel like they have the proper privacy they were promised, then they have a lack of trust in the government that promised them privacy.

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