Protecting Your Online Identity

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Today, almost everything we do, from paying bills to sharing photos from a vacation, involves some use of the internet. Even though technology has brought convenience to our lives, putting all our private information on the internet can put us in a compromising situation. Think a security breach could never happen to you? Think again.

During the past summer, New York Times tech writer, David Pogue’s, Apple ID account was compromised because hackers correctly figured out his security question answers. The first two questions asked were “What was the model of your first car?” and “What is the model of your current car?”. Both questions were answered through a simple Google search. The final question was “Where were you when the new millennium began?”. This was answered by a lucky guess; at a party. Even if you think that your personal information is not relevant enough to be answered by Google, the answers to security questions should never be information that could be found on your Facebook page. Answers to questions such as “Who is your childhood best friend?” or “What is your hometown?” are very easy to crack with a little Facebook research.

Other ways to protect yourself online are to create strong passwords by substituting 3 for E or 1 for i. Additionally, never use your name or initials in a password and don’t have one password that you use for multiple accounts. Also, when using public Wi-Fi networks, always logout of accounts when you are done and try to avoid checking sensitive accounts, like your bank account, until you are on a secure Wi-Fi network.

Taking a little extra precaution on the internet can save you the headache of dealing with an internet breach.