Hacking scandals are becoming more and more common and every few weeks, another huge hack is published and is the centre of the news. Whether it be a white-hat hacking incident or a black-hat social media hack; every so often there’s something new that we’ll read about.
The question is, what sort of data do these hacks actually expose and what can we do in order to protect our data from being liable to these hacks? Today, we’re going to answer these questions as best we can.
How Deep Packets Work
First of all, let’s take a look at how monitoring an internet connection takes place. Many people opt to envision the internet as similar to a phone link in which electrical cables are used underground to connect two places. However, with modern technology, the internet is incredibly different to how people choose to perceive it.
Actually, when it comes to the internet, any data which is sent across the internet is split up into small and manageable segments. These segments are known as “packets”. These packets are sent from data centre to data centre until they finally reach their location.
Up until recent years, internet connections have been able to handle the constant opening of every packet which the network receives. However, as the internet has become a largely needed part of businesses and personal wellbeing, these networks are getting stressed too much.
That being said, new software and hardware has been created within the last few years which is able to sustain the current networks which are frequently used by the government and the public. The equipment which is used, known as “Deep Packet Inspection”, is a huge advancement for the technology industry and is pretty much available to anyone who might find use out of it.
This sort of “passive surveillance” can be used without making a hole in your pocket and can also be used without leaving a trail of breadcrumbs behind.
The next thing which we’re going to discuss is your traffic. So, with the information which we provided above, what is someone who is monitoring your network able to view?
An obvious answer to this would be that they are able to view a lot of information, including your IP address, any websites which you are accessing, cookies which have been sent between you and the website you’re accessing, and your location based off of the IP address. This is fairly basic information, so let’s dig a little deeper.
If you’re someone who purchases their goods online, then you’ll have accessed a website which has “HTTPS” in the address bar or which has a green padlock next to it. Websites like this have an encrypted connection so that only your network and the destination network are able to access the data. If someone intercepts this data, they will only be able to view the source IP address and the destination IP address; which for a real hacker, isn’t of any use to them.
The issue is that for a lot of websites, they can’t afford to implement a SSL Certificate for their website and so aren’t able to have this sort of secure connection in place. A very small minority of websites use HTTPS and so it’s incredibly difficult to limit yourself to only websites which have it implemented. Although HTTPS can prevent your information from being leaked to a hacker, IP addresses still provide them with SOME information; we don’t want them to have any at all.
Although email is slowly dying out as a form of communication, with messengers such as Skype and iMessage taking over, email is something which heavily lacks in security. There are encryption protocols available for emailing, although they aren’t something which are used frequently.
This is where VPNs come into play. The next step to ensuring that all of your data is encrypted, even if you aren’t on a HTTPS website, is to use a VPN.
With a VPN, you are able to add an extra layer of security as well as encryption. Any hackers to intercept your data stream will see nothing other than scrambled data which they won’t be able to access. Anything which they’re able to view will be pointless and have absolutely no use to anyone.
Thus, when it comes to picking a VPN, you want to pick not only one which comes at a fair price but which is reliable, has fast speeds, and is trusted by the current users.
Anyone who has kept up with the news over recent years will know about Edward Snowdon and how he told the world about the global surveillance programs which have been put in place by several intelligence agencies across the world.
The most important aspect of this program is something called XKeyscore; something which works in a similar way Google does although with the intention of gathering individual’s internet activity. XKeyscore is constantly searching for data which analysts will go on to analyse.
There’s no doubt that regardless of how many communities rally against this sort of unethical program, governments are going to continue monitoring all of our internet activity for the foreseeable future.
With that in mind, if you want to get around this sort of surveillance wherever you can, you have to look at alternate encryption methods. The best approach would be to use multiple encryption methods at once; ensuring optimal results.
Our suggestion would be to choose a reliable VPN and pair it with the Tor browser. With these two things together, you are ensuring that your network security and encryption are up to par.
Criminal Hacking Activity
If you thought that the government monitoring your every move online seems bad, let’s take it a step further.
Contrary to popular believe, there are others aside from Nigerian princes who are looking for every opportunity to steal your money over the internet. Even today, the popular “Nigerian” prince scam is taking place and people are still falling victim to it.
Another of the most popular hacking scandals is one which takes advantage of public Wi-Fi service. Since anyone can access a public Wi-Fi network, it’s an easy target for hackers. Hackers are able to spend their day in a coffee shop with their laptop whilst taking in other customers valuable data, without pulling a muscle.
Fortunately, there is a way to prevent this from happening to you. Simply put, a VPN will encrypt all of your information so that even if a hacker does get their hands on it, there’s nothing they can do with it; they won’t even be able to read it.
If you find yourself travelling frequently or connecting to public networks regularly, get yourself a VPN. You can even get a VPN for your mobile phone!
Stay on Top of it by vpn
Being aware of the dangers which you face while on the internet is important. More and more malware is being released every day, and so making sure that you don’t fall victim to it is important.
Having a VPN on your side could be the difference between you taking a vacation to the Bahamas, and spending the next couple of weeks trying to recover money which has been stolen from your bank account through online fraud.
Do your research, find a VPN which will fulfil your needs, and take your internet security to a whole new level.