Omaha, Nebraska 2021-07-22 02:56:13 –
An important concept to remember is how to protect your online identity in the digital age, as more aspects of our lives include the use of online platforms and communications.
Dr. Burma Honey, a professor of computer science at UNO in the Faculty of Interdisciplinary Informatics, is an expert in critical infrastructure security.
Matthew Hale, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Cybersecurity at UNO, Faculty of Interdisciplinary Informatics. Is an online privacy and security expert.
Dr. Robin Gandhi, Director of the UNO School of Interdisciplinary Informatics, is an expert in information assurance and risk assessment.
Here are some tips and tricks from our faculty as the world advances to expand its capabilities in the digital world:
What risks do people face when sharing sensitive information online?
Mahony: First, people tend to just “fire” without thinking when posting personal information. Posting can be one of the biggest risks online, especially if the site where you post the information is open to the public (for example, a widely open Facebook page).
Most people know they don’t do obvious things like passwords, but they don’t think about posting new car photos or news about their kids’ elementary school. These clues make password guessing easier for anyone who wants to hijack your identity.
Photos are especially risky because many smartphones add GPS coordinates to the image metadata.
Can you tell us a little about geoposition?
Gandhi & Hale: GPS-enabled smartphones allow you to geotag photos, videos, messages, and social media posts. Location information is embedded in the media metadata along with filenames, dates, camera information, and more.
When geotagged media is publicly shared, location information is often misshared. Such information, aggregated over time, begins to reveal personal information such as work and home locations, daily life, frequent locations, vacation destinations, and shopping locations.
What steps can people take to protect information that others don’t need to see when online?
Mahony: The obvious first step is to (strictly) limit the list of outsiders who have access to the social media you post. Sites that start with “wide open” are the worst criminals, but many of these sites make it difficult to find the controls needed to disable external access.
Second, the best menu items in your web browser are those used to clear your browsing history, stored cookies, and content. Please enable “Private Browsing Mode” which is used frequently or used by some web clients. A more extreme way is to use a browser such as “Tor Browser Bundle” to completely mask the ID from the site you visit.
Additional Tip: I’m particularly interested in how people don’t seem to care about location-based services. This is on your phone, at least you need to turn it off, set a time period, or set it to “use while the app is running”.
Gandhi & Hale: To protect your privacy, you need to hide your data. Deleting or hiding the metadata prevents sensitive patterns from being learned over time.
Virtual private networks (VPNs) are very effective at hiding browsing patterns over the Internet. A VPN works by forming a tunnel between your current connection and a known network. When the tunnel is formed, all requests originate from the tunneled location, so they appear to originate from within a known network.
How do you know if your identity has been stolen?
Mahony: People need to do some simple things, such as frequently monitoring credit cards and online banking statements.
Some banks have systems that send text when withdrawing money at ATMs, so turn them on when these features are available. Also, if your bank has any two-factor authentication, make sure it’s turned on.
What would you do if your identity was stolen?
First, if you believe your identity has been stolen, please notify the company you are dealing with. You will also need to visit each website where you purchase the item, change your password and delete your credit card information.
Please contact each credit card issuer to let them know so that you can invalidate your old account number and issue a new card. Contact each of the three major credit reporting companies and notify them or issue a fraud warning in the report. Second, it’s good to submit a report to the Federal Trade Commission.
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