Basics of Cybersecurity

Do you use one password for all website accounts? Have youbeen storing unencrypted confidential data on your laptop? If your answer is yes, you might want to change that after hearing what Aaron Rinehart and Danny Al-Faruque had to say on the panel of Basics of Cyber-securities.


  1. “You don’t have to be dealing with national security agencies or big corporations,” Al-Faruque said. “If you’re covering the Columbia police department, they can hack into your computer. There are many hacking tools for amateurs.”
  2. Don’t leave unencrypted data on Cloud storage. The cloud is generally secure, but do you trust the companies? “There is no legal requirement for Dropbox or Google or Amazon to not handover your data in the cloud,” Al-Faruque said. “Because the government can come in and say there’s national interest we want the information.” So, if you do use the cloud, encrypt your data. To name your files unrecognizably is the least you can do.
  3. Use multi-factor authentication. A good example would be: Google has a service where when you try to login your gmail, it sends your randomized password to your phone. It not only requires you to know your password, it requires you to have your phone with you.
  4. Use encryption tools, they’re free! TOR is free software and an open network that blocks network surveillance. Tails, one of the TOR projects, allows you to store your computer system on a thumb drive, plug it in an internet café and have a secure operating system on that is using the hardware of the machine.
  5. “It doesn’t matter if the machine is hacked. You’re using your computer on your thumb drive,” Rinehart said.
  6. But make sure you understand them before using, because it would give you a false feeling of security. Apps like Text secure, Redphone (for Android) and Signal (for iPhone) that helps encrypt text messages can also be handy.
  7. They also recommend watching United States of Secrets, a documentary of Frontline that just won the Peabody award.