Security Fail, How Important is Your Privacy?

securityHow many “RE:Important Message” emails did you get today from major retailers and corporations?  Did these emails apologize profusely about a security breach and how your private information was compromised?  How many of these are you getting on a weekly basis?  It may make you wonder if that assumed security of your private information is a reality.

Security

Realize, that companies that collect your information on the most part hold no liability for what happens to that information if their security is compromised.  You can normally read all about how they will not be held responsible in their terms of use information, that’s that annoying screen that many by habit simply click through to get to the good stuff.  Unfortunately, the bad guys want your information, even if it’s just a name with an email, it has value. The trouble is that technology wants your information too.

Privacy Security

Technology wants to know where you are what you buy and what name to refer to you when it needs to sell you something.  It would seem that it is better to assume that any security measures regarding your privacy will fail, but what does that mean to you when it happens?  Probably mostly harmless right?  When enough information is tied back to one user, it can be incredibly dangerous.

Remember that silly questionairre that you answered last week about the name of your first pet and your mother’s maiden name?  That and your email address could compromise those security questions that banks, email services and credit record companies have to protect your valuable information.  From that point, it’s easy to take out a loan, get a credit card or simply dump all of your business across the internet.  What can be done about it though, do you need to live like a hermit on the internet?

Personal Privacy

Here are a few things that you can do to improve the security of your personal privacy:

Lockdown your Social Networking settings.  If you run a website, use managed hosting.  If you don’t want the world to know your business, then lock out everyone but the people that know you.  If you would like to tell your friends that you will be out of town all week that is perfectly fine, just don’t tell the entire world.  That tidbit of information plus your address could spell a break in.

When you need something shipped to you from a major retailer that requires your name and address, it is perfectly within your right to simply use your initials for your name.  Also use a separate email address from a free email site that is only used for purchases.  It might also be a good idea not to store your credit card information.  Get a PayPal account, it’s simple to use, adds one extra layer of security between your money and a hacker and its free.  Storing your credit card information may make purchases a lot faster, but keeping that information completely off your computer until needed is a lot safer.

You shouldn’t have to feel like you are in the Witness Protection program, but you shouldn’t blindly put your faith in the security of your privacy either.  Big name companies are always going to be targets for hackers, so act accordingly, do what you can to protect your information.

If you have any other tips on protecting privacy on the internet please feel free to comment.

About the Author

Mark Whysall

2 Comments on "Security Fail, How Important is Your Privacy?"

  1. Don’t use the Cloud? Your files are totally not protected on cloud servers. Even the FBI can walk in with a warrant for a server and have faster access than if they had to wait to get a warrant for your personal computer. Don’t use your real name or your real address for sites that ask for it, why do they need to know? If you need something mailed to you then of course you will have to use your real address, sometimes a PO box is nice too but not everyone will ship to a PO BOX. Just remember that anything that you put out here on the internet is basically like having free access to your permanent record. If you put it out there, it stays out there.

  2. Queenie McFadden | April 5, 2011 at 2:04 am |

    It would be a lot safer just not to use the internet. Good luck with that though. If you are really worried about your personal security then don’t tell any websites the names of your pets, your high school, or any security question answers. It’s pretty simple, keep those things to yourself.

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