Nico Sell Offers Privacy Tips for CEOs

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The key to protecting a company and its data is to understand the threat landscape and adopt a hacker mentality.

By Stefanie McCann, Editor

One of today’s most fascinating security experts and privacy advocates is Nico Sell.

During the World Economic Forum earlier this year, she was seen wearing sunglasses constantly. Why?

“So far my eyes have not been on the Internet,” said Sell. Many people have only seen her in sunglasses and do not recognize her without them.

Sell is chairman and founder of Wickr Foundation, Wickr Inc., and r00tz Asylum. She is conscious about protecting her identity and insists on minimizing her digital footprint.

There is massive data collection happening both online and offline. Couple that with advances in facial recognition technology, it makes Sell concerned about how difficult it is to opt out of digital data repositories.

She sat down recently with Connected Futures. In her interview, she offered tips on how a CEO can protect his or her own identity and company data.

According to Sell, in the last few years, cyber breaches were reported almost daily. This means information security must become a CEO’s number one responsibility.

“The stakes have become too high not to invest in security and adopt some of the hacker mindset to protect your own company,” she said.

One piece of advice she offered to CEOs is to hire a social engineering consultant “to hack the company.”

This will allow you to truly understand how vulnerable your assets are. According to Sell, it’s likely that “they will get 100% of the targets, 100% of the time.”

Once you know your weak spots, you become empowered to fix them. Then you can continuously improve your company’s security.

She suggests that CEOs should think about protecting their personal information, too. Here are three tips she offered:

  1. Cover cameras on all devices: Believe it or not, it is easy for hackers to remotely hack and take over the cameras on your phone, computer, or smart TV. Journalists, celebrities, and activists have been targets of these attacks. As a result, many are forced to pay ransom or risk their reputation.
     
  2. Carry all RFID-enabled cards in a Faraday wallet, including your hotel keycard, credit cards, and IDs: When traveling, it’s possible for someone in an elevator, for example, to clone your key card in just a few seconds. Once that happens, not only can they open your room, they can access your personal information stored on the key card.

    To protect data linked to your RFID-enabled cards, Sell recommends placing all of them in a Faraday wallet that blocks radio waves.
     
  3. Turn off geotagging: Unless you need your photos and videos to be tagged with your location, make sure you turn geotagging off. If you don’t, for example, your Instagram feed could reveal more information about you and your whereabouts than would be considered safe.

In the end, understanding the threat landscape and adopting a hacker mentality can help protect the company and its data. It is key to survival for any CEO today.