Protect Yourself: Online Security & Privacy

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Geeky ‘n Girly was recently contacted by Lisa Margetis from SingleHop, a company specializing in cloud computing. She asked us to join a blog initiative to educate people on the importance of online safety, passwords and privacy. Well, of course we said yes and decided that each of us would write a piece detailing tips for staying safe and secure while using the web.

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In the world of social media, people seem to be all too trusting about things they post online. Status updates of where we are, pictures to go along with it and trusting friends with passwords has seemed to become an “okay thing”. With everyone having so much access to unlimited information on the Internet, it’s important that we remember to stay safe, with out revealing too much info about ourselves. For example, let’s say you’re making a password to your online banking and you use your birthday as your password because it’s easy to remember, and your online PIN as your birthyear. Example: April26! (Password) PIN: 1988

Anyone who knows you and your birthday can probably figure that out! It’s important to make complicated passwords and also equally as important to not give them away. If you must let someone have a password to something important, make sure that it is a person that you REALLY trust, and that they have the password for the possibility of a emergency event happening. I use passwords that are completely random and have nothing to do with me personally. For example: 1218BmF1984! is a complex password that it completely random. Per https://howsecureismypassword.net/ , it would take 344 THOUSAND YEARS for a desktop PC to crack! Try this website to test your passwords. It’s easy to use and will open your eyes about how safe your password is. Remember, when making passwords, don’t use things that are familiar with you! Be random, remember how complex your password is and don’t give it away!

Many privacy focused users and companies who make sure their passwords are rock solid were still exposed to hacking because the Heartbleed vulnerability existed on one of the servers where their passwords were stored. I.E.: SingleHop servers were tested and found that because of the Open SSL version they were running, they thankfully weren’t affected. After Heartbleed they really tightened down their security to ensure that something like that wouldn’t be a problem for them in the future. That’s why they believe their secure dedicated servers are a great avenue for people looking to execute cloud based strategies. Data security is a two way street, users need to keep passwords secure, but companies that store those passwords have a responsibility to do the same!

Whitney

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Children are always taught the importance of stranger danger and the precautions they should take. Never take candy or items from a person you do not know and certainly never accept a ride from one. When I was younger that basically all you needed to worry about. As I’ve gotten older and technology has advanced, face to face contact is not the only means of meeting a stranger.

I am not a mother myself, however, after seeing my nieces and nephews on social media sites it opened my eyes to just how easy it is for a stranger to collect their information. IE: a simple status update, “Going to cheer practice.” Followed with “Going to the park.” These things seem harmless and simple, but if your profile is public anyone can see where you are and can pick up on a pattern. They’ll know where you you’ll be and when you’ll be there.

Another way is through hashtags. I don’t mean things like #selfie or #mancrushmonday. I’m talking about things that should obviously not be put like the tag #homealone has over one million photographs on Instagram. There are millions of Instagram users that can now look under that tag and see that you are home by yourself.

This is not just for children, but for adults as well. Things like status updates and hashtags don’t appear as though it could be potentially dangerous but it is better to not take that risk. Before posting think to yourself, “Is this information I should be sharing with the rest of the world?” Remember that you can never be too safe when it comes to social media.

Kelly

Kirby

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In general, we tend to be very trusting when it comes to loved ones. We tell them how our days went, how we feel about one another, and even our deepest darkest secrets. However, there are some things we shouldn’t share with loved ones especially when it comes to online security. Some of our most precious information is stored online, including credit card information, bank accounts, and ID numbers.

It should be said that we all must consider who it is that we can or should trust our passwords with. It might seem insulting to others involved, but it is simply for our security. Trust your amazon password with your best friend so she can buy that pretty lipstick online and then you might find yourself dealing with a new host of problems beyond your friendship. She may take it upon herself to buy that tank top she’s been wanting and then a cute pair of shoes to match!

That coworker just wishes he could have Netflix to watch that show you keep talking about. So you think that giving him your password and username to log on to watch is a nice thing to do. Why not? Then you will have someone to talk to about each new episode that comes on! — Again, why not? Well, your subscription for Netflix has to be paid somehow. I’m sure that it can viewed when you log on to your account. And guess what? That coworker of yours now has the ability to log on and see your billing information. Physical address, credit card number, e-mail address, ect.

You might find that these people who you thought trustworthy really aren’t that trustworthy at all.

So we should always take a step back to really look at our own online safety and then at what may happen should we trust someone with our passwords. Chances are that the people who we can trust with our online security are the same people who won’t ask us to begin with and/or won’t get upset if we decided not to share.

Britney

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Also,

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2 thoughts on “Protect Yourself: Online Security & Privacy

  1. I like that this is a collaborative article. Its message is sound and actually important. I actually made a big mistake when it came to not sharing my online information, by giving my ex girlfriend almost all my accounts and passwords, and after we broke up I had to go change everything which was such a pain. So maybe someone will read this and not make my stupid mistake.

    • Thank you. We were happy to help with this particular blog initiative. It really has personal meaning for all three of us. I think we’ll work on more collaborations in the future.

      I’m sorry to hear that you had that experience. I did the same thing in a smaller way with my ex. Not a good situation, but we live and learn. I hope this article helps at least one person out.

      – Britney

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