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“Hunted” – A technology view

20 October 2015

Channel 4’s new reality show Hunted has gripped my attention since the first episode launched 6 weeks ago.  I’m particularly surprised by the amount of surveillance there is in the UK, allowing people to be traced or ‘hunted’ using data from mobile phone and ATM usage, number plate recognition, and CCTV footage. What I’ve found more concerning however, is the oblivious nature of the contestants to the digital footprint they are leaving, not dissimilar to the naivety of employees when it comes to safeguarding corporate data.  

So, in a world driven by technology, how do you protect your personal and corporate digital footprint?

1. Manage your devices

Gone are the days of owning one mobile device, we live in a society where people juggle a plethora of devices at any given time. The mobile phone in particular has become the hub of many people’s lives; 66 per cent of people now own a smartphone. In a short period of time the mobile phone has evolved to support all work and personal activity from sharing files to tracking fitness goals, as well as still holding its primary function of making calls.

Ensuring your device is backed up regularly, is one way to manage its contents and protects it against damage or thief. Backing up the device’s applications and data to a public cloud service safeguards contents but also adds an additional layer of security to your data.

2. Password protect

Irrespective of the abundance of recent security hacks, the show brings attention to the amount of people that still don’t have any security on their devices. Without any security measures, others can immediately access the device as well as personal and corporate data. Securing accounts with a password is an essential step to protecting data.

Using complex and different passwords across various accounts and devices also tightens security. Where possible, a two-step verification or authentication is preferable.

Applications such as KeePass can help remember any complex passwords you have.

3. Control browser history

If Internet anonymity is important, tools like the TOR network provide users with ability to hide identity and usage. Internet performance and connectivity can be affected by products such as TOR, therefore consider if the perceived cost of your history is worth it.

Browsers can also be set to delete search either automatically or manually, as the search history is automatically cached.  Most browsers have a secret search feature, whereby the history is not stored and neither are cookies. The issue with cookies is that the information is read by other services, often to advertise to. Remember, Internet history will never truly be private, as ISP will track sites visited.

4. Information control

The revelation of social media is leading to a generation of over-sharers. Think about the information you want on the Internet. Imagine what could happen if an unscrupulous person had access to your private information and what they could do with that information? Sharing information you may use for added security protection such as pet names etc. invites security threat. 

It is essential to have prevention tools in place to control your digital footprint and to stop yourself from being ‘hunted’.

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