Strengthen Your Online Security With C.O.A.C.H.

Strengthen Your Online Security With C.O.A.C.H.

Do you have any idea whether you’re “safe” online? Online security and privacy are complicated, and risks vary by person: You might worry about getting harassed, hacked, or your boss finding your terrible old blog posts and using them as an excuse to fire you. Crash Override’s Automated Cybersecurity Helper helps you secure your accounts according to your needs, and it guides you one step at a time so you don’t get overwhelmed.

First, tell C.O.A.C.H. what you need to do: Avoid a hack on your accounts or website, hide your personal information, secure your computer and phone from hackers, or clean up old accounts. Then follow the instructions, which are laid out in so much detail that they can get a little tedious. But better bored than overwhelmed.

For example, to avoid getting your online accounts hacked, C.O.A.C.H. guides you through setting up two-factor authentication on popular accounts such as Google, Apple and Dropbox. It also helps you install a password manager so you can institute harder-to-crack passwords and safely forget them all.

Say you want to hide your contact info and address. If they’re already out on the internet, this is tough, but C.O.A.C.H. tries. First you’re asked if you own any domains or websites (a site’s WHOIS info can expose your address and contact info). C.O.A.C.H. then tells you how to make them more private. Next, C.O.A.C.H. helps you get your name, family info and home addresses removed from people-search database Spokeo. Then it reveals that there are at least 272 similar data brokers online, and helps you opt out of the most popular ones.

C.O.A.C.H. is a service of Crash Override, “a crisis helpline, advocacy group and resource center for people who are experiencing online abuse”. You can check out other Crash Override resources, such as a guide to talking to family and police when you’re facing online abuse, and links to services for anonymised web browsing and device security protection.

C.O.A.C.H. itself often links to other resources, such as Just Delete Me, which helps you delete old online accounts, and Two Factor Auth List, which gives instructions for enabling two-factor on hundreds of sites and services. (Many of C.O.A.C.H.’s chosen resources are Lifehacker favourites.)

Like we said, this stuff is complicated. So just try one step, and if that helps, try one more.

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