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How Strong Encryption Can Help Avoid Online Surveillance

By Alex Nimoy
How Strong Encryption Can Help Avoid Online Surveillance

Some time ago, spying was a labour-intensive job. Moreover, it required excessive resources and specific targets. Nowadays, spying is an easy task for everyone who wants to. So then, when you use the internet, you become vulnerable to surveillance. Even if you might just be editing, saving or sharing something.

Now, the majority of traffic on the internet is viewable to anyone. Often, to people that can access computers that your message passes through. That is, from your computer to your local ISP to the final destination of your message. For this reason, how can you avoid online surveillance?

Using strong encryption is the answer. Encrypted messages get turned into an unreadable form. However, the person at your messages’ final destination can read them. More and more websites now use encryption to protect their data. Unfortunately, encryption does still not default to many internet users.

Hence, hackers can breach data and sell it on the dark web. Data breaches include the following:

  • Hacking or malware attacks.
  • Insider leaks.
  • Payment card fraud.
  • Loss of a physical hard drive of files.

Yahoo is one of the company’s that suffered a big data breach. The breach affected three billion accounts. Since then, the company takes significant steps to ensure the security of its users.
In 2019 there was a data breach at Alibaba that affected 1.1 billion pieces of data. After that, Alibaba promised to protect the interests of its users and partners.

What is Strong Encryption?

This type of encryption uses a very large number as its cryptographic key. Note that the longer the key is, the longer it takes to break the code. Currently, strong encryption requires 256 bits. The length of the key must get increased as computers become faster.
Strong encryption helps protect data from theft. It helps secure critical infrastructure that societies depend on. However, encryption is also available to cybercriminals. Law enforcement agencies then get caught in a difficult position. They face a dilemma on how to gather evidence against criminals using strong encryption.
Either way, string encryption should be available to all internet users. For instance, it is an important technical solution to protect their data. If a way to bypass encryption comes up, then it could get exploited by cybercriminals.
The society noted that the mathematical theory upon which encryption is based is out to the public. Hence any weakening of encryption will affect the security of all users. And people will reduce trust in the internet. Note that strong encryption is essential to our security, not a barrier.

Basic Encryption Techniques

So, there are two techniques of encryption; symmetric and asymmetric. Both methods use keys to encrypt and decrypt information. A key is a familiar information used in the conversion process. For example, a password or fingerprint you can use to access your phone.
The symmetric technique uses the same key to encrypt and decrypt. Following this, the method is often used in localized situations. An example is a password on your cell phone.
On the other hand, asymmetric decryption works differently. The method uses different keys to encrypt and decrypt. That is, the public key and unique private key, respectively. The method is common when at least two people have access to information. For example, in sensitive business communications between companies. So then, both parties often need access.
How Data Ends Up on the dark Web
The darknet is a digital marketplace where much of the stolen data we’ve heard about ends up. In 2019, stolen data from online accounts of 617 individuals was found on the darknet. Besides, there are many reasons for buying the stolen data. The reasons may include:

  • Committing identity theft
  • Financial fraud
  • Blackmail
  • Surveillance

The rate of data breaches is upsetting for anyone with an online account. Yet, we have many online accounts. Now, let us see how our data ends up in the hands of cybercriminals.
The process of stolen corporate datasets ending up on the dark web is long and complex. It requires a hacker with technical skills. Furthermore, one that has access to a closed network of trusted individuals. Thus, the payout has to be large to make the labour worthwhile.
First, data sold on the darknet has to be obtained from somewhere. For it to end up on the dark web, it is long exposed elsewhere. The dark web can lure an organization into a tough spot.
Cybercriminals access the dark web via an anonymizing browser called Tor. They use Tor to avoid getting tracked. Furthermore, in the dark market, all transactions are in the form of cryptocurrency. The cryptocurrency can be in the form of Monero or Bitcoin. Apart from breached data, other black-market goods are also traded on the dark web.

What to Do if Your Information Gets to the Dark Web

Your data could show up on the dark web for all sorts of reasons. Wanting to delete it from the dark net is wishful thinking. Despite that, here are steps you can take:
You should place a credit freeze with each credit bureau. This will help prevent people from opening credit in your name

  • You should obtain free credit reports from annualcreditreport.com. Therefore, check for any accounts or charges that are foreign. Don’t forget to obtain all three of your credit reports. In case of identity theft, use the reports to restore your credit.
  • Social Security Number (SSN). When your SSN gets involved in a data breach, there are precautions to take. First, create an account with the Social Security Administration. By doing that, you are claiming your Social Security Number. To confirm your information, review your earnings.
  • Social Security Number (SSN). When your SSN gets involved in a data breach, there are precautions to take. First, create an account with the Social Security Administration. By doing that, you are claiming your Social Security Number. To confirm your information, review your earnings.
  • Change your passwords. Along with that, change the security questions on your accounts.
  • You can also add 2-factor authentication to your accounts. It protects against malware attacks.

To avoid online surveillance, it is necessary to use strong encryption. The reason being, it strengthens cybersecurity. Also, it is important to raise awareness of cybersecurity. Because it is a critical element in strengthening security.
Install HTTPS Everywhere to increase encryption and protect your data. It is a plugin browser that tells the website to use encryption.

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