Subscribe / Unsubscribe Enewsletters | Login | Register

Pencil Banner

How to protect your PC from PRISM surveillance

Mark Hachman | June 10, 2013
Thursday afternoon, a bombshell dropped: Two leading reports claimed that the U.S. government has been spying on emails, searches, Skype calls, and other electronic communications used by Americans for the last several years, via a program known as PRISM.

Watch those hotspots
Wandering from coffee shop to library to free cafe may provide another layer of security, as your client IP address will vary by location. Just make sure that when you're roaming from location to location, someone isn't trying to sniff your PC--or worse. Preston Gralla's story on protecting yourself at hotspots also contains advice tailor-made to protecting your privacy while on the go, including nailing down older apps that might allow an intruder inside your PC.

Obviously, block that malware
Let's face it: the first and most obvious thing you should do to secure your PC is to lock it down from malware. Our tests from January provide you the best antimalware solutions, empirically tested to ensure that no Trojan or other worm sneaks inside your PC and provides its own spying eyes on your online activities. Your PC should be your castle, and antimalware is the first line of defense. Frankly, if you're concerned about the safety and well-being of your PC, you should have taken care of this long ago.

Tie it up together with a hard password knot
The last thing you'll want to do is make sure that all of your encrypted services are tied up neatly with a unique, easy-to-remember-but-impossible-to-crack passphrase. PCWorld has some tips to manage passwords, including what's coming down the pipe. But the best practice right now seems to be to find a good password manager like LastPass, and create your own unique password. Bruce Schneier's "Schneier scheme" recommends that you create a passphrase ("Man, those six flights of stairs to my New York apartment were killer.") and then abstract it, possibly with the first letters. ("M,tsfostmNYawk.") It's not perfect, but it's a lot better than random words and phrases that can be easily guessed.

Will these tips make your PC PRISM proof? No, not necessarily. But if you're concerned about the recent PRISM disclosures, they'll go a long way to help you sleep better at night--outside of smashing your PC to bits, distributing the pieces randomly among a dozen scrap heaps, and moving to the woods, that is.


Previous Page  1  2  3 

Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.