National Cyber Security Awareness Month is a great opportunity for all of us to take a moment and review our safety and security practices to ensure they’re up to date.
San Diego, CA (PRWEB) October 16, 2012
Most people know what cookies are or know not to click on suspicious links, but there are a number of hidden online hazards that could present risks to unsuspecting consumers. Anonymizer, Inc., http://www.anonymizer.com, the global leader in online privacy, anonymity, and identity protection solutions, is observing National Cyber Security Awareness Month by shedding light on privacy risks that consumers may not be aware of including:
- The Evil Wi-Fi Twin: Using free Wi-Fi at a local coffee shop or other business may seem harmless, but how do consumers know if the network they’re connecting to actually belongs to the coffee shop? Unbeknownst to many users, hackers can easily set up a hotspot, call it “Coffee Shop Free Wi-Fi” and lure in victims, leaving their computer and personal information exposed. This is a form of “man in the middle” attack. It can capture Internet activity, modify pages, inject malware, and capture cookies to impersonate users online.
What You Can Do: Using a personal VPN (Virtual Private Network) provides protection whenever users are connected to open Wi-Fi networks. With a VPN, even if a user unwittingly connects to a questionable Wi-Fi network, their personal information and browsing activities are protected.
- The Un-Clicked Banner Ad: Many people believe that if they don’t click on a banner ad, the banner can’t track them. Think again. Even if a banner ad is not clicked, data about consumers and their online behavior can still be collected, used and manipulated. By simply viewing an ad, the advertising company has almost as much access to information as the website itself. Third-party advertising networks use a variety of techniques to track and profile users and to gauge the effectiveness of ads, including embedding cookies in browsers, which can track consumers just by the simple act of visiting a website.
What You Can Do: Consumers should enable Private Browsing so that information about the sites and pages they’ve visited is not saved. Private Browsing also prevents cookies from being stored. If using a home or work broadband connection where the IP address is static, an IP hiding anonymity tool should be used to prevent IP-based identification and tracking.
- Recycled Email Addresses: From online banking to social networks, many consumers use an email address as their account username. This makes it convenient to log in, but many are unaware that using the same email address across the Web makes it easier for hackers to worm their way into online accounts. Once an online thief knows an email address/username, it usually doesn’t take much work to figure out a password – a recent survey found that 61% of consumers re-use the same password across multiple sites* – and consumers have practically handed hackers the keys to unlock all of their online accounts. The use of email addresses as account names makes major data breaches much worse. Not only is the account compromised on the hacked service, but if the email address and password is used elsewhere, it is easy to attack all those other sites and services as well.
What You Can Do: Consumers have dozens, perhaps hundreds, of online accounts. While establishing a separate email address for each website may seem daunting, services like Anonymizer Nyms allow consumers to create hundreds of email aliases to protect their personal email address without the need to check or manage any new email accounts on their computer. Just as important is the need to use different passwords with these services. Multiple passwords can be easily managed with tools like 1Password or Lastpass.
“Online safety should always be top of mind and National Cyber Security Awareness Month is a great opportunity for all of us to take a moment and review our safety and security practices to ensure they’re up to date,” said Lance Cottrell, Chief Scientist for Anonymizer, Inc.
For insight into the news, trends and industry developments impacting consumer privacy and online security, follow the Anonymizer blog at http://www.theprivacyblog.com.
About Anonymizer, Inc.
As the global leader in online privacy, anonymity, and identity protection solutions, Anonymizer continues to push the envelope with products that allow consumers and organizations to remain safe, secure, and anonymous each time they go online. The company’s proprietary technologies address the needs of home users and businesses. With a pristine 17-year history of protecting customer online identities, Anonymizer’s products have set the standard in Internet privacy, and protected billions of web searches and personal communications. To learn more, visit us at http://www.anonymizer.com, follow us on Twitter, @Anonymizer, or like us on Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/anonymizer.
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*Source: CSID Password Survey, September 2012