Protecting Your Online Identity

In this age of Social Networking, obviously identity theft is a concern for all of us. So, I thought I'd share some of the techniques I use to protect myself.

First of all, don't share too much information. I do my best not to, at least. Except for my Friends on Facebook who can see just a bit more information than other sites, most people can only tell that Schvenn is some guy from Ontario, Canada and even then, I keep Facebook pretty locked down.

That's about all I want people to know. Oh, they may be able to know my age, but not often.

Secondly, you should try to use an alias whenever possible. I do, but it's the same alias across the entire web, so that in itself can also be a concern, because you put enough of them together and you might be able to find out more about a person than they want you to know. That brings us back to the first point; don't share too much.

Next, use secure passwords. Don't be a tool and use passwords like "test", "password123", "abc123" or for us Canadians, "hockey". Yes, that's right, let me say as a supervisor at an ISP, you do not want to use the word hockey or it's derivatives. For secure passwords, don't use names, birthdates, anything that can be guessed and for Pete's sake people STOP using your name! Mix up numbers and letters and maybe even replace letters with numbers like this: "AbraC8dab7a!" That spells AbraCadabra!, if you couldn't figure that out. Puncutation in passwords helps, as well.

Finally, know where you are on the web. Track yourself and keep track of yourself. What may seem like a good idea now may bite you in the backside down the road.That brings me to the point of this post. Here's a few sites that can help with that, by giving you access to all of your online identities in one place:


Verisign is for the more security conscious. The other sites are for the more social networking conscious. For other examples see the Social Networking page.

Of course, Facebook's integration with so many sites allows you to do the same, but here's a couple bonuses:


HelloTXT lets you micro-blog (read "Tweet") to multiple services at once…like about 50 of them. The benefit of this is that it keeps all of your profiles active, so nobody can steal them from you.

Digsby on the other hand is a fantastic Instant Messaging client, located on the Internet page, that while allowing you to get past most Network firewalls (shhh…) also allows you to link to multiple social networks and chats at once. In fact, I use it to chat with Facebook, Google, MSN, LinkedIn, Twitter, MySpace and I send the odd random (as I'm sure you've seen if you've read any of my Status Updates) message to HelloTXT. So, by using Digsby and HelloTXT together I'm able to update a pile of social networks at once and with the other sites, I'm able to keep track of what profiles I have and where.

Okay, one last bonus:


That program, which of course is listed in the Internet section of this site, allows me to keep track of all my usernames, passwords and links in one application, safely secured with a 256-bit AES algorithm, that can only be unlocked with the right password and a combination of two separate files being opened at once. The safety this program provides is insane and yet, it's very simple and convenient to use. It even has an auto-type feature, so that when you get to a site, you don't even need to remember the password, which you probably can't if you let this program create them. You just open the application, hit CTRL-V and it will paste your user information into the site and login for you. Very cool.

For some additional reading and tools regarding passwords, you can visit the Security & Passwords section of the Troubleshooting page. I'm not going to write another article on that, because a million security experts have done that a million times over already (So would that make it a trillion, since it's a million million? LOL) and I'm not going to pretend to know more than they do. Basically, this article is a laymen's (read - lazy man's) guide to using some common sense to protect yourself.

Finally, Microsoft has (finally) released a book about keeping yourself safe online. It's primary focus is for teens, but everyone can benefit from reading it. Don't worry, it's not too long at 266 pages. I finished the book in a single afternoon and found it fascinating. It's a very good read. Download it at: It's free!


I hope some of these strategies help you!

Created: 09 Oct 2010 05:33


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