The Never-ending Story: Protecting Your Privacy Online
The news is out and it’s not good. In fact, it’s downright troubling. It seems that every day, usually several times a day, there is more and more information available about the dangers of the Internet. It’s enough to make a Luddite out of even the most devoted technophile. Here’s a sampling of some of the latest updates on the lack of privacy on the Internet, and threats to personal and financial information:
- Social Networking Can Be Dangerous: The FBI recently issued a new warning on social networking. The FBI pointed out that hackers are not only threatening governments—they are also targeting individual users via social networks, exposing the users and their workplaces, if they are online in the office, to great harm. Hackers either exploit personal connections through social networks or write and manipulate computer code to gain access and/or install unwanted software on personal or company computers or phones.
- Tweets and Facebook Posts May be Used Against You: The courts continue to weigh in on whether social networking may be used against users who post information on their personal sites. While the judiciary’s responses vary on a case-by-case basis, so far the trend seems to be that posts on Facebook or tweets may be used as grounds for dismissals from jobs, or even against defendants in criminal or civil cases.
Keeping up with all the changes is daunting, but as we’ve said before, in our entries "The Myth of Online Privacy" and "Fight Hackers With Encryption," there are simple steps you can take to protect yourself. This article, “How to Keep Your Facebook Profile Private Yet Usable,” written by Dave Copeland details the best ways to protect yourself on Facebook, short of not signing up in the first place. Numerous software programs exist to block tracking data from being stored on your computers. Creating a clear Internet use policy for your company and making sure your employees understand what is expected of them is also a good plan.
And, as always, doing the bare minimum is crucial: encrypting emails, only using secure Wi-Fi connections and avoiding some of the most common tricks used to activate malware that can log keystrokes or record phone calls.
None of these measures will provide complete protection, but they are good places to start to ensure that you and your company are being proactive about guarding against some of the dangers that lurk online.