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When you think of the words “Online Security,” what do you think of…

Here is a question for you; “Do you like to respond to topics on forums or ask questions?” Hmmm…bad me….what about this….” Do you like to purchase things on eBay?” …ooh, you are really starting to make me nervous…. Okay, stop reading and take a moment to open another Internet browser window. Go to and put in the name or email address that you use for these activities and do a Google search. What did you find? Anything? Nothing? Is this the same account that you use for any work related activities? Does your HR manager know this account? One more question and then I promise I will stop with all of these blasted questions…are you shocked at how much personal information is available about you, seemingly without your knowledge or consent?

Think back for a minute to some of those forum rule thingies that you have to accept before you can join… or the eBay rule thingies that you had to click accept on…nobody reads those, do they? Nope! Well each one of those has standard language in it that allows the provider to collect information and, in some cases publish or share it with third parties at will. It is scary that we just blindly accept these on a daily basis and keep going…

Our steps have become so much harder to erase on the Internet. Things that we say and do which may or may not be silly given the context can cause quite a bit of harm in the wrong situation. To give you a rather extreme example, let us try this. A father was researching bipolar medications on a forum with respect to his daughter. He spent several months on this forum and posted several times, asking this or that question. On some of his posts, he referred to his daughter, and on some of his posts, he did not. A year later, he was up for a promotional review at his job and a substantial raise. His boss had just been to a seminar about information on the Internet and was curious. Since the father had used his work email address on this forum, when his boss did the search, he was shocked. His boss took the information immediately to the HR manager and not only was the father not promoted, he was terminated for using the company email address for a non-company sanctioned forum. Does this seem wrong to you? Are you outraged?

For those of you with jobs, read your company computer security policy handbook. You might be surprised to find that nothing you create or write on your work computer or using your work email account is considered private. It is all company property. Most of the time, if you break this policy, you can be immediately terminated from the company. For those who are applying for a job, human resource managers are starting to get smart and do their research beforehand. Google the email address that you are going to give to employers BEFORE you finish your resume. If you find something that you do not like, create a new email address and make sure you are not using a current work address.

When you think of the words “Online Security,” many of you think of viruses and bank accounts; however, those words can also mean your personal information’s security and privacy. Be safe and be smart or you might find yourself looking for a new job!

Your Online Security Authority
Bill Wardell

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  1. 2 Comment(s)

  2. By ScribesUnlimited on May 16, 2008 | Reply

    My contention is that no matter what security gets invented, or re-invented, or revamped and reorganized, you’re never going to stop hackers from finding ways around it. Yes, I think it’s a joke — otherwise we would not be hearing news items about email-servers or credit card companies somehow “losing” millions of accounts filled with data. Your system is as secure as you think you can make it. 😀

  3. By Dartz on May 22, 2008 | Reply

    You should always read TOS agreements, if I wanted, I could rewrite the TOS to my forum and have you sign a Faustian Pact with the Devil.

    As for searching, my e-mail is only public on “cleaner” places, which is a good thing. All you find is my Shuu account and my Deviant Art.

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