The New Oil logo Dark Mode

Most Important: Section Introduction

I have titled this section "Most Important." As the name implies, this section is full of techniques and services that apply to everyone everywhere (generally speaking). This section is related to issues like cyber security, identity theft, and mobile devices. This is the kind of stuff I feel confident saying that if you're reading this, it almost certainly applies to you. Of course, everyone is different, but honestly if this doesn't apply to you, I'm willing to bet you're the exception.

This section begins by giving some context, explaining how your information gets compromised and leaked to public or unauthorized places. Then it goes on to give you specific strategies and tools to protect that information. If you only read one section of this site, I recommend you make it this one. Doing these few techniques will dramatically improve your security in today's increasingly digital landscape.

I like to compare this section with infamous serial killer Richard Chase, who I mentioned in the threat modeling page. Chase stalked the Los Angeles area between 1977 and 1978. One of the reasons he was so difficult to catch was because he didn’t have a pattern. He said on record after he was caught that he would just cruise around neighborhoods until he spotted a house he felt compelled to try. But here’s what made Chase odd: if the doors and windows were locked, he would go on his way and try a different house. He didn’t force his way in. If the doors were unlocked, he took that as permission to kill whoever was inside.

We should all be trying to defend ourselves from the Richard Chase’s of the digital world. Many people argue that security is inconvenient. It is. It’s much more convenient to use your daughter’s name and birth year for every single account password instead of a randomly-generated password. It’s very convenient to stay logged in or not use multifactor authentication. It’s also inconvenient to have to unlock your door and open it up whenever you come home, but the amount of security you get from not leaving my door wide open at all times and using a simple $2 key more than pays for itself. The same principle applies with information security. Even little things like strong password practices and multifactor authentication can provide massive security that outweighs the inconvenience, and it only takes a few weeks or even days for it to become second nature.

This section of the site/book will teach you to lock your digital door. These techniques are not designed to make you unhackable or untraceable, but they are designed to make you a difficult, annoying target and make it not worth the malicious actor's time to bother with you so they move on to someone else.