Kelly Van De Walle: Expert tips from Kelly the Cyber Expert

With the news that Facebook’s data of (as of now) 87 million users has been obtained by the scary-weird political machine Cambridge Analytica, it’s important to learn how to secure yourself – and your data – online. Thankfully, I own a computer (blessed) AND have been online once so I’m uniquely qualified to provide expert tips so you don’t find yourself a victim.

1) Never give your data to anyone. In fact, never go on the internet. Throw all of your computers away and burn them in the trash bin. Then probably call the fire department because you took this too literally and didn’t notice I didn’t say to take the trash bin outside first. Oh no, more things are on fire now. You don’t have any idea where the fire extinguisher is, do you? There’s just no reason to know where that is. Maybe under the sink? Now there’s no time. Run!

2) Protect your computer from attacks by covering it in chainmail.

3) Study and mimic the behaviors of pandas. It is widely known that pandas have never had their personal information stolen.

4) Buy a really good safe. Put all of your data in this safe. CLOSE THE SAFE. Bury the safe in the backyard during the vernal equinox while repeating Steve Jobs’ name backwards as you sacrifice the slowest goat.

5) Buy a second computer and, while you’re at it, create a second identity complete with alternate family and career. Use this identity to hack all of your original data. Hackers will see you’re already “taken” and will move on.

6) Change all of your passwords to: “Don’t_Do_This_Doug” If the hacker is named Doug he’ll think twice before going through with it.

7) Never keep all of your passwords in one place. Set them free. If they love you they’ll find their way back.

8) Hackers are usually after your credit card information. Always keep them maxed out so that if the criminals DO get ahold of the numbers they’ll feel so sorry for your terrible credit score they might even offer to pay a monthly minimum for you.

9) Have a 1980s family sitcom-style sit-down with your data, reminding it of the dangers of strange-looking malware.

10) Always insert special characters into your passwords, for example: @, $, ! or Gary Oldman.

11) Enable “two-step verification” for all accounts and devices, which should ensure you never get into anything. If you can’t access your bank accounts or social media profiles, neither than the criminals. Unless they’re good at computers, which some are.

12) Always click on strange emails from unknown senders offering large sums of money. Once you get the money you can use it to pay a large company to secure your data.

13) Set up a “Home Alone” style obstacle course from your front door to wherever you keep your computer and watch the perpetrators comedically injure themselves on their way to stealing your data.

14) Prevent access to your phone’s microphone feature by shouting at the top of your lungs constantly. With the current state of the country you’re probably doing this anyway.

15) Self-identify personal information on all websites as “Ham.”

16) If you suspect your computer has been compromised, grab it while it’s in “sleep mode” and hold it under the sink for 4-7 seconds while shouting, “WHO HAVE YOU TOLD?!” Repeat as necessary until it cracks.

17) Pay for all goods and services with cryptocurrency. It’s OK if you don’t know what that is because nobody does and probably is the same thing as Monopoly money. The best way to use cryptocurrency is to walk up to the cashier and vigorously shake your closed laptop at them until the 14 Canadian nickels you put in there fall out.

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Kelly Van De Walle can be reached at vandkel@hotmail.com