Know who your friends are.

You may have heard about security breaches ‘in the Cloud’ and wondered if you were at risk. Odds are you probably aren’t unless you are a famous celebrity or are known to have possibly photographed someone famous in shall we say, a compromising situation. Thing is there is so much data being stored online now that as far as personal files are concerned anyone trying to crack an online account will most likely go for something that will either make them famous or rich in the process.

So should you not worry at all then? Depends. Most people are not very good with passwords. No, really. They will tend to use the same password or a variation of the same password for all their accounts. And I have lost count of the number of offices I have been in where someone’s password is written on a post-it and stuck in clear view.

Trouble is, easy to guess or crack passwords are only part of the problem and can be alleviated by having an app for your smartphone which creates virtually uncrackable passwords and stores them for you to refer to. Just as important in modern security is recognising social engineering which is the art of manipulating people so they give up confidential information. This can range from the blindingly obvious email offers to share in a fortune which is available from some far off country to the much more sophisticated.

Microsoft is well known, right? Microsoft is widely considered to be trustworthy. So when Microsoft phones you up and offers to speed up your computer that’s a good thing obviously. Wrong. First off you have to treat things like this much like the good news that you have won a lottery you never entered for. The odds are against it, Microsoft has millions of customers, why contact you if you haven’t contacted them first?

In the cold light of day and given time to think, it seems dodgy, but when you are put on the spot and have little time to think perhaps not so much. And the bad guys are good at psychology.

In summary. Assuming you have up to date malware protection, then the two main things to be concerned about are strong passwords and paranoia. Trust people you know you can trust, but assume you have to be cautious of everyone else.