Identity protection: you ARE your own worst enemy online.

I have been thinking over the last few weeks about what to write, and one thing I notice while doing any kind of hacking, or just observing habits online is that everyone is VERY unsafe with their personal information. Everyone uses Social Media, Online Backing, Webmail, Google and every time you are presented with a registration form, you enter in all your information to all the fields, and because of you’re trusting nature, you do it HONESTLY without reading any of the fine print, in privacy agreements, or terms of service.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve fallen into that trap before myself, and I TRY to look out and have been accused of being paranoid. But what I want you to consider for a moment, is how much of your personal information is on just ONE of the social websites, like Facebook, or Gmail, or whatever else you might sign up for. My guess is you have at LEAST one email address, phone number, your full name, your birthdate, your address (or at least your city). now just think, what can someone DO with that information? A LOT!

I was sniffing the “public” network here at work a month ago, and found that two people were using their Comcast Email at work, and to make it worse, their login information wasn’t even encrypted on the wire. whatever email client they were using was broadcasting their username and password AND the website it was connecting to, in plain text. Now, I don’t know about you, but Comcast has a ton of my personal billing information and it would be pretty bad if someone got their sticky fingers on my account info.

The problem with filling out these “registration” forms, is MOST of the information they ask you for, isn’t even required the companies use it as an added bonus when they SELL the lists to other companies for profit. Truth be told, if what I’m signing up for requires registration, but its not something “mission critical” for me, I do lie on the form. I NEVER give out my phone number or REAL email (if its something I’m interested in hearing about, I’ll give it my spam email address, but NEVER ever do I fill in real information.

The most important thing to do, and with the attitude of entitlement in today’s society it never happens, making hackers happy people, is Never, under ANY circumstances, should you check ANY account, that you want to keep 100% private, when on a public network. that means don’t use Facebook, Gmail, banking or anything at places like Panera, Barnes and Nobel or any other private network. And you really shouldn’t do it on a wireless network at all (wireless is seriously unsecure even in your own home) but that is really pushing the paranoid envelope a bit.

My only hope is that you take some time to THINK about what information you are really putting out about yourself, because once its online, its NEVER really gone.


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