4 Things That Might Surprise You About Online Security


At FortKnoxster, we talk a lot about security and privacy. We can’t help it, really. It’s not just our business and our product (as much as we’d like to think our software’s pretty cool and useful), but it’s also our desire to share our passion for it in the hopes that as many people as possible benefit from awareness.

The good thing about online or Internet security is that it’s a fairly familiar topic for most people. Almost every person online is aware of the need for security, and most personal computers today have some very basic form of security software. In developed and in most developing economies, even children are benefiting from basic computer training in schools that include some form of online security in the curriculum.

Even when measuring awareness informally, thanks to mainstream media headlines made by hackers all over the world or even by the portrayal of digital subterfuge in popular culture (which spy film doesn’t have a hacking scene these days?), it can be hard to imagine Internet users who don’t have an idea of what online security is.

Online security: Not so cryptic if you break it down

Like most engineering and computer terminology, the definition of online security can range from being dry and academic, to being a downright hard-to-swallow piece of jargon jumble. Wikipedia calls it a branch of computer security related to the Internet and network security, with the objective to “establish rules and measures to use against attacks over the Internet”.

Techopedia has a slightly more digestible definition, and one we’ll use:

A catch-all term for a very broad issue covering security for transactions made over the Internet”.

The only thing we’ll make clear here is that “transactions” in computing terms refers to information exchange. And that is the basic action anyone does when using a computer! You are requesting information from another computer when you enter commands and to submit the request, you are also sending information. Thus, another way to look at online/Internet security is to see it as the security of your information when using the Internet.

I know how to protect my information online… right?

If you’re reading this right now, then you’re likely someone who uses the Internet every single day. You also probably know all the stuff to do and not to do when online. Always use strong passwords… Don’t visit shady websites… Don’t open attachments from people you don’t trust…

Good if you know them and better if you follow those rules, but there’s quite a lot of things that happen every day revolving around your daily activities that happen so far beneath the radar not many people will be aware.

Here’s our list of 4 Things That Might Surprise You About Online Security.

1. Some email providers can read your email.

Chances are, you’re using email that uses encryption as a standard. Encryption simply means your data is coded in such a way only you and intended receivers can read them. But there are many ways for that encryption to happen.

FortKnoxster uses end-to-end encryption, meaning that the sender’s data is encrypted (coded), and then decrypted (decoded) only by the reader. No one else in the middle can decode the data.

But not all emails are end-to-end encrypted, so anyone in the middle (the host server transmitting the email, for example) could potentially open it. This is most often at corporate email servers, so if you’re an employee using company emails, be sure to check if your emails are end-to-end encrypted.

2. Incognito is not anonymous

Sorry guys, but if you thought you could visit illegal websites on Chrome’s Incognito mode or something similar offering “private browsing” without anyone knowing, you’re wrong.

This isn’t to say it’s completely not anonymous. Private browsing prevents your browser from collecting your data (where you visit, which links you click, which films you watch, etc.) but your Internet provider can still see everything you do online.

So for things that must remain absolutely anonymous from prying eyes, such as work communications or even transmitting, be sure you do a lot more than just use Incognito!

3. Anyone can hack your strong password… given enough resources

Imagine if your password were only 3 characters and only made out of digits. That means there are only 1,000 possibilities for the password: 000 to 999. So with enough patience and time, it’s always possible to try out every single possibility to crack a password.

Anyone who’s ever forgotten the 3-digit combination to their suitcase knows this;)

A type of hacker now uses this very simple technique but using simple software to help automate the process of trying out every single possible combination to a password, using a library of the typical alphanumeric keys on a computer keyboard. Because of the speed of modern computer processors, hundreds if not thousands of possible combinations can be attempted every second – lending this method the name “brute force”.

Of course, having a strong password that has many characters and uses a good random mix of numbers, letters, case and symbol makes it so much more difficult for brute force attacks, simply because they create an impossibly high number of possible combinations for a brute force to try them all.

Impossible? For now maybe. But as computers get faster, there is a more urgent need for stronger passwords. Our suggestion? Use two-factor authentication (2FA or TFA) instead, which requires not only your password but a device only you have with you to access. 2FA is one of the many ways Fortknoxster secures your account too!

4. A hacker attack happens every 39 seconds

You probably know that hacks don’t happen like in the movies, where some shadowy figure in a dark room, bathed in the green glow of his computer screen, jabs rapidly at his keyboard to overcome some server’s firewall. And after 5 minutes of nail-biting drama, with a firewall health bar counting down on the screen, he’s in.

However, the Clark School at University of Maryland has found that hacker attacks aren’t even manual anymore.

They also happen far more quickly and at blinding speed, thanks to the same methods we talked about in the previous point: brute force hacking. According to the study’s author Michel Cukier, on average, a hack happens every 39 seconds via “automated scripts that indiscriminately seek out thousands of computers at a time, looking for vulnerabilities.”

These days, hackers merely program bots and other computers to do the work for them. And some even specialize in hacking into other computers to use THEM to hack for them, building an army of hacking bots and devices they don’t even own.

About FortKnoxster

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If you are looking to protect your online privacy and secure your communications online using FortKnoxster Messenger is the right choice, it now protects over 60 thousand users communications

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