Just this week there have been the following reports: Facebook has been hacked and accounts hijacked; eHarmony has been hacked and passwords stolen; LinkedIn has had member passwords stolen and cracked; and Google has announced that “State-sponsored attackers may be attempting to compromise your account.”
The purpose of these hacks is to gather large amounts of member personal information in order to impersonate the members to open credit card accounts, bank accounts, and steal their money. Cyber crooks have been very successful stealing personal identities on an individual basis over the last several years and now have moved on to hacking social media sites to steal enormous amounts of data at a time. These large social networking sites are huge targets that net lots of personal information in a short period of time; and are thus very lucrative for cyber crooks.
Now let’s get to the subject of computer users being part of the problem. The personal information that’s being stolen is the same information most people dutifully, blindly, and innocently enter into their profiles on the social networking sites. We believe the privacy policies on these sites that they won’t use your personal information for purposes of marketing, etc., but we don’t realize that our information may be stolen by cyber criminals.
So…what can be done? First, you must modify the information in your profiles…all of them, to limit them to the very minimal amount of information possible. That means not entering your birth date, your address, your telephone number, your email address…are you starting to get the picture? You should delete all information that could be used to convince a clerk at a bank or credit card company that they are you. And the answer to the question “are you part of the problem?” is a big fat yes.
As always, I appreciate your comments on this subject…so please do. And be careful out there…it’s extremely dangerous these days.
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Home computing is a blast…keep it safe, productive and enjoyable.