We all need a safe place to put our precious belongings, no one in their right mind would leave their jewelry, money, passports and credit cards in the open. Chances are your most valuable belongings are locked up in safe, where no one can get to it. Today, in this digital age, we carry information that is considered just as precious as our physical belongings – and we don’t even know it. Information such as login credentials, passport copies, home addresses, credit card numbers and other sensitive information is all there for the taking on our smart phones.
Imagine a scenario in which you are travelling in a crowded bus. You have to stand throughout your journey as there’s no space to sit. You are surrounded by people, left, right, front and back – you are something of a human sandwich inside a bus. Pick pocketing thieves frequently ride this bus looking for easy prey. The thieve notices that you have an expensive smart phone – and determine that you’ll be their next victim. Accordingly, with a quick slip of his hand, this thieve steals your smart phone without raising your suspicions. Sadly, not only have you lost your smart phone, but also your personal data is at risk of being leaked.
Your private photos and videos are at risk of being published on the internet, and your documents that contain sensitive information will most likely be used to commit fraud on the internet. However, theft of data can also occur remotely, without the user ever finding out. Whether you are at home, at the office or in a public place, if you are using your devices which are connected to WI-FI, you run the risk of leaking your data.
Hackers have devised a way to download your information through a WI-FI connection. They have developed software which can record your key logs, ultimately recording your usernames and password in the background. In addition, they can virtually log-in to your personal files, sort through and locate sensitive information that may be useful to them.
Ultimately, these criminals have had great success in accessing their victim’s bank accounts, and then transferring the money to an offshore account, where it cannot be recovered. In other cases, certain pieces of your personal information can be stolen such as your social security number, your driver’s license number, your address and other bits of information. All this information is used to apply for loans and credit cards using your identity.
So, what is the solution and how can we prevent such things from happening to us. First, if you are going to use public WI-FI or any WI-FI for that matter, you need to make sure that you use a virtual private network. A VPN is a program that masks your true identity and encrypts your connection. Next, to make sure your data on your lost or stolen smartphone is never compromised, be it on your laptop, desktop or smartphone, you should download and install file lock software.
Staying safe on public WI-FI or on a public bus requires the use of data leak prevention software. Tools such as file lock application and virtual private networks are the most popular solutions.