A couple of years ago I had the privilege of attending a seminar about electronic privacy and security led by former FBI computer crimes investigator Michael Bazzell. If this is your first time hearing that name or digging into this topic I highly encourage you to visit his websites, listen to his podcasts, and/or read his book. His blog is a great place to start. You can find it here: https://computercrimeinfo.com/wp/. During his presentation he explained the many ways our private information is obtained without our consent; either through social engineering, data mining, or outright hacking. At the end of the presentation, he even gave a live demonstration showing a wifi pineapple device that he setup earlier in the day to spoof the guest wifi of the facility. In doing so, he collected personal information from a handful of smartphones in the room (including pictures, web sites visited during the presentation, and more). Needless to say, I was impressed with his experience, knowledge, and stealth in “hacking” the phones of individuals in a room full of IT professionals.
That presentation got me thinking about my own privacy and security and how I could better protect myself and my family. His 30-day challenge last year was a great place to start and provided good motivation. As a result, I have since started using services such as email masking, multi-factor authentication, better password managers, credit card masking, secure email, and more. In fact, if you email me from here you will notice that I’m using the Blur email masking service. I will be writing more posts about each of these individually as I get more time, but for now that’s a great starter list.
Why are you still reading this post!? Get started now on keeping yourself and loved ones protected and secure!
Update: I’m now also using PIA‘s VPN service. So far I don’t have any complaints. It works as advertised. I really enjoy the split networking functionality on my cell phone, so I can leave VPN active all of the time for Internet traffic, but also still access my local home network. Stack Social has a great deal on this service and gives you a coupon code, so you can even sign up for the service anonymously if you want.