You may not be the only one keeping a close eye on the thermostat as you attempt to beat rising temperatures over the months ahead. Mounting revelations demonstrate the ability of hackers to strip companies and individuals of sensitive information by sneaking into relatively insecure heating and cooling systems.
Our crack research team at Newslo has compiled a list of ways to help you protect yourself from the harmful, penetrating rays of hackers and enjoy a worry-free summer without the need to lather yourself up with SPF 401(k).
1. Avoid Discounts. Big discount retailers, like Target, provide one-stop shopping for all your consumer needs, as well as extra savings to keep more of your money in the bank. Of course, the more cash in the bank, the more that is available for cybercriminals to steal. Target reportedly exposed the credit/debit card and personal data of over 110 million of its customers, thanks to a breach in its heating and cooling system. Don’t be one of them. Deplete your bank account by throwing away cash on overpriced items at questionable stores featuring neon lights and flashbulbs in their windows. You’ll thank us later.
2. Become a Mary Kay and Herbalife Evangelist. Buying goods like cosmetics and nutrition products over the Internet is a risky proposition. The so-called Heartbleed security flaw in the technology used in two-thirds of the world’s webservers appears to have left your online information vulnerable to hackers for the past two years, representing the biggest security breach in the history of the Internet. Instead of shopping online, buy everything you need (and everything you don’t) through trusted friends who use old-fashioned peer pressure and guilt to get through your front door, rather than hacking their way in through a backdoor. If alarm bells go off in your head when they ask you to join their direct sales team, take comfort in knowing that you can trust a quaint and reliable pyramid scheme.
3. Your Library, a Place for All Reasons. Modern free public libraries offer the perfect, air-conditioned respite on a hot day. Curl up with a good book and explore new worlds. Just don’t check out a book. Remember, your records remain subject to seizure under the USA PATRIOT Act. The more you know, the more the government knows about you.
4. Freeze Your Assets. If anyone knew how to play it cool with finances, it was former Rep. William J. Jefferson, whose seat on the Ways and Means Committee gave him a say on taxes and other financial matters relevant to U.S. citizens. Jefferson’s trick of hiding bribe money in his freezer may not have been perfect—the FBI was eventually able to recover it, leading to a thirteen-year sentence in federal prison for the congressman—but it sure did keep those bills crisp and out of the hands of computer hackers.
5. Take a Vow of Poverty. Let’s face it, you’ll never be completely safe from hacking. You might as well become a monk, give up your worldly possessions, and focus on loftier types of fulfillment. Pope Francis, a Jesuit who took his perpetual vow of poverty in 1960, seems to be living a fine life in a church that “is poor, and is for the poor.” In addition to removing profligate members from power, Francis has taken steps to overhaul the Vatican bank, which has been plagued by accusations of money laundering. While you’re at it, it might not be a bad idea to say a prayer for the rest of our financial security.