An IP Online Security PSA

by on January 17, 2011

We cannot stress enough the importance of secure passwords. We know, we know, you have heard it a thousand times before. However, an alarming number of businesses as well as individuals still use passwords that are incredibly obvious, simplistic, easily guessed, or even worse, right online for the world to see. We are all guilty of it- you have log-ins and users names with passwords for thirty different sites with thirty different passwords to remember, so it “has” to be simple. We get it, we do, but it can cost you.

This weekend, msnbc.com posted this article about online security, referencing a 23 year old California man who leveraged Facebook to breech security in order to exploit women’s privacy with information he found right online. With so many of us using social media to share information and receive information, it becomes easier, almost comfortable for us to engage in casual, open conversation. Not only that, but as social media progresses, online users get savvier, that includes potential hackers. But, one of the most effective ways to prevent this from happening to you is to be aware of the information you are sharing, especially if that information can be tied back to your passwords and security authentication answers. Just because you’re on Facebook, doesn’t mean you can’t sensor personal information (i.e. your birthday, your mom’s maiden name, the street you grew up on, your first pet’s name) Many of these questions are used as security measures for further authentication or if you forget your password. Security is in place to protect your business, sensitive transactions, your identity, etc. So it is important to realize that anything you post for the world to see on Facebook, could easily be used in a not so favorable way. Think back to your passwords. Are they common knowledge about you? Are they the same answers to questions that might be posted online? Also, take some time to look at one of our previous blogs to ensure your password isn’t listed as one of the 500 worst passwords.

Be responsible when it comes to your security. As suggested by Security News Daily (and agreed to by us) use fake information when filling out the answers to identity-challenge questions during the set-up or changing of an online account. Yes, you know your first pet’s name was Fluffy and your favorite author is Stephen King and strangers might not know that, but check your Facebook. Is he listed? Are all of his books listed? Are there old pictures of you and Fluffy? If so, it might be more obvious than you think for the wrong people to get their hands on highly sensitive information. So, put that your favorite author is “778snt959”, change up your passwords from account to account and limit the amount of personal information you share online to be proactive in the protection of your security.

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