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The Campus Lantern

The Campus Lantern

The Campus Lantern

How are we one click away from losing our identities?

How+are+we+one+click+away+from+losing+our+identities%3F

I was on a train to Newark Airport when I got a notification that I had reposted pro Russian propaganda.

Like me, everyone in our community is at risk of a Cyber Security attack. An attack can happen at any time on any technological device. A lack of Cyber Security has made it easy for hackers to steal loads of information from unsuspecting people. They do this by cracking passwords and accounts. Because of a reliance on tech storage, millions of people across the world store their information on their technology.

Sarah McDowell, the Chair of the History department at SCH, has “a bunch of passwords stored that automatically generate when filling them in”. When asked how safe she feels with all of this stored information, she responded that she “doesn’t feel safe at all.”

Mrs. McDowell’s fear provides a clear picture of the impact cyber security has on society. Due to hacking problems, cyber security has become quite a popular field for tech startups. These startups promise their clients safe and secure programs that can thwart the attempts of even the most skilled hackers. The clients of these companies range from everyday people and small businesses to massive tech companies like Google and Microsoft.

Cyber security companies can promise large businesses like Google cyber safety. To know more about said companies I spoke to Evan Sultanik. Sultanik, an SCH parent, works as a software engineer at Trail of Bits. Trail of Bits is a global Cybersecurity company with employees across the world. I asked Mr. Sultanik about what Trail of Bits does to secure large companies.“We get the software for companies and we break into it and give the companies advice on how to fix it. Using this information, companies like Google can devise ways to secure private information users keep on their site. These blocks keep hackers from breaking in and accessing your information.

But you don’t need to hire a firm to secure your devices, there are a few simple ways to ensure security. Sultanik recommends the following:

  1. “Use a different password for every website. If your password on one website is compromised, then the attacker can immediately gain access to all other accounts that use the same password.
  2. Store your passwords in a secure password manager. These can also automatically generate secure, random passwords for you. But password managers are also a single point of failure, so you need to choose a trustworthy one. Apple’s and Google’s are well respected, and I generally also recommend 1Password.
  3. Do not install third party keyboard extensions on your phone; as fun as they can be, they have been known to record and exfiltrate everything you type.
  4. Do not install third party web browser extensions unless they are from a trusted developer like Google. Browser extensions have the ability to spy on your browsing habits.
  5. Once a year, power down your phone and/or laptop and pretend that they are lost. Evaluate what data, if anything, you would have lost, and how you would regain access to your online accounts. This exercise will help you avoid catastrophe.
  6. Always have a recovery plan.”

 

 

 

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About the Contributor
Jake Warren, Staff Writer
Jake is a junior at SCH and this is his first year on staff. He divides his out of school time between playing baseball and traveling. His favorite place in the world is Merida in Mexico. At school Jake focuses on things like writing, history, and Model UN. He is an aspiring diplomat for the U.S.
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