young woman on couch inset over webcam background

Ales Munt/Shutterstock @jexxss/TikTok (Licensed)

A cybersecurity expert on TikTok flagged the biggest mistakes average people make online

Jess offers advice on preserving data, protecting passwords, and where security cameras should and shouldn't be.

 

Claire Goforth

Tech

Posted on Aug 3, 2022

The digital age offers countless opportunities that were unthinkable a few decades ago. It’s also fraught with an ever-increasing list of perils ranging from identity theft to having your employer spy on you via webcam.

A TikToker who purportedly works in cybersecurity regularly offers advice on protecting yourself and your loved ones in the digital age.

In one multipart series about “things I will never do after working in cybersecurity,” TikToker Jess (@jexxss) offered a litany of dos and do-nots on topics such as security cameras, password protection, saving files, and much more.

In the first TikTok, Jess rattled off a list of do-nots that includes having a camera inside your house, clicking on “weird emails,” and reusing and recycling passwords on vital websites, such as your bank or financial institution.

Jess didn’t respond to an emailed inquiry sent Wednesday morning.

“I would never not have a camera outside my house,” Jess said in the TikTok, stressing, “Don’t keep ’em inside, keep ’em outside.”

In a comment, Jess clarified, “This video is geared toward plug-and-play WiFi/IP cams. If you have an offline camera, VLAN, etc., I’m not talking about you.”

Because cameras connected to the internet can be hacked, having them inside your home creates the risk of someone hacking them to watch and possibly record you.

Jess also cautioned against clicking on “weird emails” and urged people to listen to their intuition if something seems off, as it could be a phishing or other type of scam.

Regarding passwords, Jess said people shouldn’t reuse important ones, such as for your bank account and primary email. “Try not to write your passwords down, and make them complex,” Jess said. “Also occasionally there are different websites you can search to see if your passwords have been compromised.”

Experts advise using two-factor authentication to provide an extra layer of protection.

Jess further suggested watching out for older relatives, who may not be quite as tech-savvy and aware of the various ways fraudsters target people.

“There are so many scams out there where they’ll just call the phone number and scam older relatives out of thousands of dollars by having them wire money overseas that they cannot get back,” Jess said.

In the second TikTok in the series, Jess addressed preserving data.

“I would not keep single copies of your data. Everything should be backed up twice. Ideally, you want your second backup to be in a different location in a fire and waterproof safe.”

Continuing, Jess pointed out that certain types of storage, such as flash drives and memory cards, can get corrupted over time and hence shouldn’t be relied on long-term.

“Generally speaking they should last … 10 years,” Jess said, but cautioned that sometimes they fail much earlier.

The third TikTok in Jess’s series centered on the culture in the cybersecurity industry. Jess described the field as “toxic” and unforgiving.

“Not one person can be an expert in every single cybersecurity domain,” Jess said. “…You make one mistake, you say one thing wrong … you will get crucified.”

In conclusion, Jess said, “I love my job, I love my coworkers. I do not experience this at my job. But the field in general is 100% like this and it needs to change.”

Jess did not identify the company she worked at in the cybersecurity field


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*First Published: Aug 3, 2022, 12:28 pm CDT