While watching Oprah this past week, I found it interesting how the topic related to what we discussed in class: mainting our privacy on the internet. I think it is unforunate that some people get scammed out of their life savings for something that could have otherwise been prevented, if they only knew what safety precautions to follow.
Below are some tips on how to "Be safer online", according to Oprah's Friday taping.
-->Consider a Different Browser
Dr. Tygar recommends using alternative browsers such as Firefox or Opera to address identity theft or online privacy concerns. These alternative browsers can be downloaded free of charge by clicking here.
-->Get a Second (or Third) E-Mail Account
Never use your real e-mail address in online chat rooms. Never use it when shopping online, and never use it to register at any website. "If you have ever done business online," says John Hambrick, an FBI supervisory special agent with the Internet Crime Complaint Center, "you have to expect that your e-mail address will be compromised; there is [then] the potential for that account to be stolen or sold."
So do what the G-man does: Establish a separate e-mail account—free on MSN's Hotmail, Yahoo!'s Mail or Google's Gmail—and use it specifically and exclusively for online purchases. The Hambrick trick should make your private accounts less vulnerable.
-->Password Dos and Don'ts
Need another reason to guard your computer passwords? It's possible they could be cracked by eagle-eared identity thieves using a high-tech microphone that detects sound through glass.
To keep your passwords unknown—and unknowable—follow these pointers:
Do combine parts of two unusual unrelated words, such as gastrocumulus or cytoplasticity. The longer and stranger the better.
Do mix capital and lowercase characters, as well as symbols and numbers, in the middle of the password: f2reeDoMeYe#wTness, not freedomeyewitness.
Do use words from a foreign language in combo with an English word. Many hackers try to crack passwords with common words, or with those pooled from the dictionary database of a single language.
Don't use anything that can be easily guessed by neighbors, co-workers or strangers who get their hands on your wallet—a nickname, child's name, pet's name, or your favorite sports team or hobby.
Don't use slightly different versions of the same password on different websites, such as ABCebay, ABCmortgage or and ABCvisa.
Don't pair a common word or your name with a different character at the beginning or end, such as $user or johnsmith7.
Don't use the same password from one application to another. "It's fine to have a simple, short password on a news website," says Dr. Tygar. "But use a different, longer, more complicated password on a site with sensitive information."