How We Unknowingly Open Doors to Cyber-Troublemakers

How We Unknowingly Open Doors to Cyber-Troublemakers
Image Credit: CSO

Unless you’re Canadian living at the countryside, it is a no-brainer tip that we should lock our doors and ensure we take precautionary steps to mitigate property theft. It would be also really unwise to write down your safety deposit box combination code in a notebook or speak out loud your ATM passcode at the coffee shop. Though we do not commit such dumb actions, we might have unknowingly do so on the internet.

How so? A recent article revealed, how anybody can easily view and possibly change a person’s flight details when someone posts a picture of their boarding pass. Even if the name, booking reference number and flights details are hidden, elementary hackers can easily access your details with a simple & free bar-code reader app.

In fact, the barcode reveals more information than the boarding pass itself such as full name, flight number, booking reference, ticket number, frequent flyer number and you get the point. Note, that even experienced travelers commit this sin. This really made me review & question my social media/tech practices and unsurprisingly, I find myself opening doors for cyber-criminals without knowing it. Here is what I’ve learnt:


Do Not Reveal Too Much Information on Social Media via Live Updates

Like many, I get very excited before going on a holiday trip. Bubbling with emotions, I tend to share experiences on platforms like Instagram & Facebook. Yes, feel free to share amazing pictures and videos but never share it live.

Why? You might be hinting your friends or friend’s friend (hopefully not to the public!) that you’re not home and there is no one to stop others from taking my valuables. To make things worse, never share details on how long you’ll be gone like “Can’t wait to begin my month-long backpacking trip!”. In fact, criminals are using tech to track whereabouts of homeowners. Some are making it super-easy by posting “countdown days” ahead of their holiday plans. Stop opening doors for criminals by turning off location-sharing features, ensure your personal device is updated and stop broadcasting to people who aren’t in your group of friends. Once back from your trip, feel free to share your experiences, but it isn’t ideal to share it while you’re far away from home.

Never Save Passwords on Your Internet Browsers

Your browser password manager probably isn’t enough. If experts aren’t sure if internet browsers today can securely store passwords, it would be safer to believe that it isn’t safe. Evan Johnson, a systems engineer at CloudFare who has studied password managers said storing passwords with the browser is a bad idea as security is always their secondary focus. A browser exists to make internet access seamless and super convenient across all devices but does not secure your passwords.

Solution? Choose to store your passwords with dedicated password managers such as LastPass, 1Password or Dashlane. More than storing passwords, they can help you create strong passwords as well. Though there is no such thing as a 100% secure password manager, these dedicated security sites are definitely much more secure than your Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge.

The Best Way to Secure Your Personal Devices

About a year ago, I encountered problems with my PC and sent it to a technician I could trust to fix the problem. About a day later he asks for my Windows login password when I was busy at work. It took hours for me to respond to him but when I told him my windows PIN he said “Thanks, but I managed to access your PC without your password”. This really made me realize: my personal data has been so vulnerable all this time.

Reading up Microsoft’s solution to this password loophole, I realized the best solution is to have a super-secure password which only you would own: biometric verification. Windows Hello in Windows 10 is definitely much safer as access to your device is allowed only with your biometrics or your Microsoft account password. This is definitely a much more personal, more secure manner to get convenient access to your device and is a feature now widely available in present devices such as Surface Pro 4, the new iPhones and more.

Here are more tips on protecting yourself as noted by iPrice:


This article was contributed by Jeremy Chew, a guy who is passionate about all things related to tech, music, Formula 1, home and living topics. As a marketer for a Malaysian eCommerce and a newly-wed person, he has tons of things to share about millennials at work, in relationships and useful tips in building a home.