Monday, December 15, 2008

Straight talk on web security

Despite the years I have spent online, I am still a rank amateur as far as personal security is concerned. I would therefore like to take this opportunity to list a few key points to ensure one's online safety and privacy.

First, de-list birthdays from public profiles like on Friendster, Facebook , and the like. Remember, credit card companies and other financial institutions use birthdays for the validation of identity. In addition, we frequently use our birthdays or a combination of the digits as our PIN numbers.

Secondly, manage the privacy settings for personal information. Details like phone & mobile numbers and physical/mailing addresses should never be listed or, if socially relevant, limited only to close friends and family or others for whom the information would be relevant to. Same goes for the names of the individual members of one's immediate family and even pets.

Always review the privacy settings of the social networking sites you use; if in doubt, block all access to personal information. It would be important to note that the combination of the contact information with the tags on family pictures will provide outsiders not only with unnecessarily intimate information on your family and home but also the means to use the same.

As mentioned in the immediately preceding paragraph, manage access to pictures. No sense allowing the worldwide web know how your house, your family members, and/or your possessions look like, at least, without your expressed permission.