Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Lessen the risk of getting hacked and cyber-stalked

So we live in a strange little island. And this red dot is extremely litigious about most things. Fine for spitting. Peeing in public. Jaywalking. Etc. In fact lots of small little things are punishable by law here in Singapore.

Even cyber-stalking and hacking is punishable by law. But... you know what isn't?

ACTUAL stalking. Yup. Dude can be hiding in the bushes in front of your house and it won't matter.

So far, only one case has been successfully prosecuted. But the victim really went through a lot before that went through.

How I know?

Well. I've had a few instances that have been unsavoury in the past.

The most recent being... last year.

Unfortunately. Yes - not arrestable. Stalking is non-arrestable. Unless the stalker causes you actual physical harm. Stupid but true.

And honestly, other than taking your usual precautions. Not walking home and just looking at your phone while late at night and beign aware of your surroundings.

One of the reasons I slowed down on my blogposts last year was because I realised.. well. To my horror. I was being hacked. To be honest.. I don't think I ever would have suspected it at all.

When my computer was slow. I figured a good old thump sent it working again. Otherwise, turning it off and on helped.

When it used to swirl with a dizzy pink. And fuzzy green, I just figured it was the monitor or the cable. A thump. Or a thump +fiddle with cable combi usually worked.

So, it was horrifying to eventually be told that yes, you were hacked. To see countless emails. Photos etc. And realise that you feel exposed and violated in a way that you can't describe.

With remote access, people can do ANYTHING with all the infomation they glean from our computers and devices. Especially one as reliant on them as myself. My whole life is on them. Literally.

Either way. I think in some ways, some of these things CAN be prevented. To a certain extent. Well. At least you should take some precautions.


1. Don't log into OPEN WI-FI

This was one of my first big mistakes. Instead of being cautious. When I first saw what I thought was a neighbour's unlocked WIFI, i thought.. WOOHOO! FREEEEE!!!! SUCKER!!! And logged in.

Well. Little did I know that is one of the biggest gateways to danger.

Seems so simple. But really. So many of us make this mistake.

2. Try not to have a general name for your wi-fi at home. Or erase or forget Wi-Fi accounts you previously have logged into

When I first logged into the open wi-fi near my house, it was named the innocuous "belkin" - the network was stronger sometimes than my own wi-fi at home.

The thing is - because my phone is on auto-connect, I never realised that every time a "belkin" or a "Linskys" router that was unlocked was within close reach, my phone would automatically latch on to it.

3. Better be safe than sorry. If you think there's something wrong with your comp. Check it

To be honest - I did have mine checked a few times after my monitor went psychedelic more than a few times.

Thing is, we changed the monitor a few times. Then the cables. And still the same problem happened. Swirly pink. Or ghastly green fuzzy. It would black out, then come back on again.

Honestly, I should have been more forewarned by then. But granted.. I never thought I would be important enough for someone to want to stalk or hack me.

Though apparently, that's exactly what makes it easier. Because you're not on guard.


Now I know people laugh. And say this is like.. way too small a step. But honestly. This is one of the best things you can do.

Most of us use one or two passwords that we rotate throughout our emails, facebook, twitter accounts etc. And do you even know how much we exchange through that?

Honestly, I was never quite vigilant about this. But when I realised that access into all my previous accounts had been breached I realised, I didn't exactly make it hard. Most of my accounts have had the same, or similar passwords for close to 15 years now.

5. If you use computers overseas / outside, LOGOUT LOGOUT LOGOUT

May seem obvious. But can't be emphasised enough.

6. Better yet - clear your cache


I know this sounds rudimentary. But honestly, when your GPS is on, your phone basically becomes giant beacon of a tracker. As is there are devices that allow you to track phones. And when people know where you are - they can get close to you. The closer they can get to you - they can hack into your mobile devices.

8. Don't tag your location

I don't care whether or not you can become the foursquare mayor with one more check in - why open yourself up to being stalked in person too! If you really do want to tag location in a post or instagram - make sure it's a latergram instead so unsavoury characters don't suddenly turn up.

OK. That's honestly all I can think of at the moment. But, if you have other tips to protect yourself from getting hacked. (Well - as much as possible at least.) Do leave them in comments - cos I sure as heck would like to know how to prevent this from happening again as much as I can.




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