5 Key Takeaways From The Art Of Invisibility That Will Protect You From Personal Security Threats

by | Jan 1, 2020 | General Business

Improve Security

I recently picked up my copy of “The Art of Invisibility” (by Kevin Mitnick) for a quick security refresher. I’ve talked about a few of the book’s key topics previously, but we can never be reminded of these things enough.

The book is filled with countless examples of how to protect yourself online, and I’ve picked five of my key takeaways for us to look at in this article.

#1: Use 2-Factor Authentication (2FA)

Many of the services you use online have an option for something called 2-factor authentication. 2FA adds another layer of security when accessing your account. An example of 2FA would be a text message you receive with a 6-digit code that you must enter before accessing a website.

In order for someone to hack your account, they would need your primary password, plus they would need to be able to intercept a text message to get the code.

Be sure you enable 2FA for any of your accounts where it’s available.

#2: Realize That Email Encryption Doesn’t Encrypt Your Email Metadata

There are several different types of email encryption. The most commonly used encryption is PGP (which stands for “Pretty Good Privacy”). When you enable encryption within your email client, realize that the email metadata will not be encrypted.

Email metadata includes the following fields: to, from, subject, date/time sent, etc. So, if you put something confidential in the subject line, it doesn’t matter if you use encryption.

That subject line will still be sent in clear text for anybody who intercepts it to see.

#3: Encrypt Your Devices

Encryption is generally not turned on by default on PCs or Macs. Because of this, you have to take explicit action to enable encryption. If someone steals your laptop or desktop, and they don’t have your password, they can still access your content if your drive isn’t encrypted.

However, if your drive is encrypted, your information will remain secure.

On a related note, if you plan on mailing a flash drive, be sure to encrypt it and email the encryption key to the person who will be receiving the drive.

#4: Even When Using HTTPS—The URL Can Still Expose Personal And Sensitive Information

In the past, we’ve talked about the importance of using sites with HTTPS rather than HTTP to improve security. However, just like how email metadata isn’t secured when encrypting an email, the URL is not encrypted when using HTTPS.

Some websites put interesting things in the URL, such as bank account numbers, policy numbers, etc.

This means that even if the site is using HTTPS, the information in the URL can still be seen when intercepted.

#5: Smart Cars (And Other Smart Devices) Can Be Hacked Just Like Any Computer

As more and more autonomous features make their way into our vehicles (and other devices), there is an increased security risk. In “The Art of Invisibility,” Mitnick shares several stories of cars being completely taken over by someone outside of the car. This included controlling the brakes, acceleration, and more.

Scary stuff.

Just remember that smart cars have security vulnerabilities just like every computer.

If you haven’t read “The Art of Invisibility” yet, I’d strongly encourage you to give it a read (or a listen).

We’ve said it before when this book was highlighted in our On The Bookshelf section, but if you do read this book, be prepared to develop a slight case of paranoia :-).

Ryan has been heavily involved in the world of Information Technology and entrepreneurship since the early 2000s. From small business consulting to Fortune 500 IT leadership, Ryan has a wide array of industry knowledge. He earned his BBA from the University of Iowa in 2004 majoring in Management Information Systems and later earned his MBA from the University of Iowa in 2009 with a focus on Management and Marketing.

Ryan is a published author, having published "Internship Mastery: The Technology Student's Guide To Crushing Your Internship And Launching Your Career" in December 2019.

When he's not spending time with his wife and three young children, you'll find Ryan pounding away at his keyboard, spinning on his Peloton, or listening to a good audiobook or podcast.

Connect with Ryan on Instagram.

Ryan Glick

Ryan has been heavily involved in the world of Information Technology and entrepreneurship since the early 2000s. From small business consulting to Fortune 500 IT leadership, Ryan has a wide array of industry knowledge. He earned his BBA from the University of Iowa in 2004 majoring in Management Information Systems and later earned his MBA from the University of Iowa in 2009 with a focus on Management and Marketing.

Ryan is a published author, having published "Internship Mastery: The Technology Student's Guide To Crushing Your Internship And Launching Your Career" in December 2019.

When he's not spending time with his wife and three young children, you'll find Ryan pounding away at his keyboard, spinning on his Peloton, or listening to a good audiobook or podcast.

Connect with Ryan on Instagram.

Ryan Glick