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Why “Data Defense”?

There are consequences for broadcasting to the world that you're not at home.
(Image used under: Fair Use doctrine)

Though people like to say they they have nothing to hide, the truth is that sharing information carelessly is reckless. You might assume no one would care or go to the trouble of using your data against you, but have you ever thought about how very easily it actually is?

For ID Theft, all I need is some basic information about you to buy a TV in your name, but it's not the only thing I can do. What if I just watch your Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram posts to find out when you're not going to be home to burgle your home in peace? What if I'm just some jerk online who didn't like what you said in an argument? Using a technique known as "swatting", I could trick your local police into breaking down your door, destroying your house, and drawing weapons on you and your family (sometimes fatally).

Last December, officers shot and killed an unarmed 28-year-old man on his front doorstep after receiving a call that he’d shot his father in the head and was holding his mother and two siblings hostage. He’d done nothing of the sort. The Wichita, Kansas, resident’s fatal mistake was living at an address that a “Call of Duty” gamer had fabricated and posted online during an escalating argument with a fellow gamer.

Or, if I don't want to go the criminal route, it's still quite legal to track, monitor, and collect information about you based on your Internet and financial activity. Then I can use that data to profit from your Internet searches, medical data, or fear and insecurities:

She was concerned that she might have a drinking problem, and so she went on Google and asked one of those questions, ‘How do you know if you have a drinking problem?’ Two hours later, she goes on Facebook, and she gets an ad for her local liquor store.
Redirect, resist, block. Bad guys can't misuse data that they don't have.
(Image used under: Creative Commons 3.0 [SRC])

The US Government, military, and large corporations are already aware of the threat and developed the formalized "OPSEC" (or "Operations Security") program to counter it. Luckily for you, in the more-than-decade I've been teaching OPSEC principles, I've realized that it's just "Privacy Skills with a lot more steps". We can both save a lot of time with the same effect by reducing it all to a simple philosophy:

Bad guys can't use or abuse information if they don't have it.

From here, it's just a matter of identifying the ways your data is lost or stolen and equipping you with appropriate countermeasures. If you're ready to get started, click below for the next lesson.

Course Guide for: Goodbye Identity Theft

Next lesson:
Document Defense

Documents, papers, IDs, bills - Documents are part of our life, but can help someone hurt you if you're not careful. Learn the points of weakness bad guys exploit and countermeasures you can use to protect yourself.

Or choose a lesson below:

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