Healthy Paranoia - Simple Protection for End-User

Healthy Paranoia

Simple Protection for End-User

Veit Hailperin
by Veit Hailperin
time to read: 4 minutes

Nothing is more depressing than the lack of power. The feeling that you can’t protect and defend yourself. To resolve this issue you may choose one of two possible paths: Either you start to ignore the importance of things or you try to handle them properly.

Privacy and security on the Internet worries a lot of people. These worries are fueled by complexity of computers and network technologies. But security and privacy is not something absolute. It is like a dimming light: It ranges from dark to bright. If an attacker has an economical advantage of taking over a computer depends on the dim level of the target. I am sure that there are quick and easy possibilities to improve security without understanding the underlying technologies in depth.

Three simple tips

The three most important, and even easiest, steps to increase the security and privacy on the Internet are:

Multi-factor Authentication

Multi-factor authentication extends the traditional authentication by username/password. It adds another authentication mechanism. Even if the password is written on a wall an attacker might not be able to login properly because of this added factor.

The additional effort for a user is nearly inexistent. After a successful authentication the handling of the application remains the very same like before. Just in some cases some additional verification steps might be necessary.

If an attacker is able to gain access to the secret password, the abuse of the mail account is prevented. Who might be interested in your emails? Usually just a few. But may somebody reset the passwords of other accounts with the help of your mail account? Indeed!

Therefore let’s add multi-factor authentication to your mail accounts:

Your mail service provider is not listed here? Check twofactorauth.org to see if your partner might support such a solution anyway.

Multi-factor authentication is available for other services like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. The same level of security is guaranteed for these services. But the primary act of adding multi-factor authentication shall focus on your mail account.

About the Author

Veit Hailperin

Veit Hailperin has been working in information security since 2010. His research focuses on network and application layer security and the protection of privacy. He presents his findings at conferences.

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