Warfare in 2014 is more likely to occur online then on the physical battlefield. Terrorists are using sophisticated means to attempt to steal classified information from the IDF (Zahal), and our technology experts are working hard to stop them in their tracks. Follow these top five tips gleaned from the IDF (Zahal)’s operational experience, and keep your critical information safe in 2014.

IDF (Zahal) commanders in the field use their mobile phones and computers every day to help them in their work. While these tools are often critical to a mission’s success, they are also vulnerable to hacking. Israel’s enemies are constantly trying to gain access to information in order to compromise IDF (Zahal) operations.

Because of the threats it faces, the IDF (Zahal) has developed expert anti-hacking forces, building military-wide systems that protect classified data from hackers. But making sure that hackers can’t access data on individual commanders’ personal devices is just as important. That’s where Sergeant Major Dror steps in. He travels across the country, visiting IDF (Zahal) bases and showing IDF (Zahal) soldiers and officers just how easy it is for terrorists to steal their private data.

How to Keep Yourself Safe from Hackers, #IDFStyle

Sgt. Maj. Dror takes the soldiers’ personal computers and cellphones, and using free software easily downloaded from the internet, demonstrates how to hack them within a matter of minutes. “If it’s this easy for me, think of how easy it would be for an organization with the will and the means to hack into your computer or phone,” he says.

We sat down with Sgt Maj. Dror, and asked him to share his top tips for how to keep your data safe:

1. Nothing can really protect you online.

As soon as your are connected to the internet, your ability to protect yourself online is very low, maybe impossible. It’s like telling a normal person to defend his house while an army is shooting at it. You can lock the door to make yourself feel safe, and on a computer you can install antivirus software. That will protect you against a random attack, but not if someone really wants to take control of your computer. Realising this fact and being comfortable with it is the first step to being safe online.

2. Assume that the world can see whatever is on your computer.

You have to ask yourself: what content on my computer am I willing to publish to the world? Assume that whatever you have on your computer could be accessed by someone else. You can’t save something in a folder and assume that only you can see it. Once you’ve made sure that nothing on your computer could potentially embarrass you, you have nothing to worry about.

3. It all depends on who you are.

It’s all a matter of motivation. If you’re just a normal person who has nothing particularly interesting on your computer, and who’s never done anything bad to anyone else, the only way your computer will get attacked is if you yourself open a virus – no one is going to come after you. And here regular anti-virus systems and firewalls can protect you.

The problem starts when you’re a person who other people do want to learn more about or take information from. For example, when a couple goes through a divorce, each party may want to listen in to what the other is getting up to.

So to what extent you need to protect your information depends on how important it is to you. If you have information that is extremely important and must remain private, don’t keep it on your home computer. Contact an expert to help you secure it.

How to Keep Yourself Safe from Hackers, #IDFStyle

4. Don’t click on a link from a friend without context or checking first.

If you get an email that appears to be from a friend asking you to click on a link, be aware that it could be an attacker posing as your friend, and the link could be a virus that enables the attacker to take information on your computer.

Firstly, you can make any attack irrelevant by making sure that you don’t keep sensitive information on your computer. That way, even if someone attacks you they won’t be able to harm you. Secondly, always check with your friend that the link is authentic.

5. Don’t keep important passwords (like for your bank account) on a document on your computer – unless it’s not obvious.

Never write the phrase “password:” on a document. There are viruses out there whose sole purpose is to find that exact phrase and take your password. If you want to keep your password on your computer, make sure that anyone who could potentially see it would not immediately realise it was a password, and would not know for what account exactly it was a password for.

Technology: Tool or weapon?

IDF (Zahal) soldiers use mobile and web technology every day to help them complete their missions. But these tools can easily be turned by terrorists into weapons used against us. By putting these five tips into action, we make sure that the IDF (Zahal)’s private data doesn’t reach the wrong hands. Do the same, and keep your data safe #IDF (Zahal)Style.