Protect yourself from Identity TheftSafe-n-Secure Safety Tips
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Tips from our Blog
Take 5 minutes and photocopy your ass!
Sorry about the eye-catching headline, but this is an easy tool to help you react to potential identity theft.
Don’t photocopy your ass literally, but do consider taking five minutes at work one day and photocopy your wallet’s contents.
Simply take every piece of plastic and copy both sides. that way, should there ever be a lost credit card or god forbid, a lost wallet, you have records of every card, card number and support number in one place. It's a huge time-saver and could be the difference in repairing $400 of lost credit as opposed to $1000s.
Did you ever wonder where spammers got your name?
Each year I sign up on dozens of online sites. I try to manage the amount of potential spam I receive by using my free email account on sites I find questionable. Lately, thanks to my friend Craig, I have been turned on to a new trick.
What Craig did was buy his own URL. They are literally $14 for two years. If you use GoDaddy (and many others), you get a free email box.
Doesn't sound like much of a solution, does it? What Craig then does is make that a “catch-all” box, meaning email@example.com lands in this box. He then proceeds to signup at sites using their name @ craigsurl.com
So, if he signed up for this blog, he would use firstname.lastname@example.org Then these emails would land in his general box with this site's name on it.
What this allows him to do is at least see where the leak is in his circle of trust. Perhaps then he could spread the word. Plus, if he started getting Viagra emails to email@example.com, I would have some splainin to do.
Are you a password mismanager?
Before I begin, this article is a personal admission as well as a warning for others. Hi, I'm Ray and I was a Password Mismanager. There are millions of people who put themselves at risk everyday and kinda know it? I'm not sure if we think we aren’t worth a hackers time, but we are. The worst part is that deep down, I think we are all aware we’re doing it. But I’m recovering and you can too.
First, let’s identify some of the symptoms:
SYMPTOM: You let the browser remember your password for you
Ouch! This one bugs me on two levels. First of all, you are leaving the keys to your house on the front porch. You’re making it almost too easy for hackers. You are neatly wrapping your exposed passwords in a box and begging the world to write a hack to have it delivered like a pizza.
Secondly, while it makes it easy for hackers to get your personal passwords (and thus your personal identity information) it makes it impossible for you to actually remember your own passwords. It’s like placing a number in speed dial. You just don't even know it anymore.
SYMPTOM: You keep track of your passwords in a text document on your computer
I’ve never done this, but I know people who do. This is a poor practice. There are hacks written literally looking for files named passwords.doc or passwords.txt
SYMPTOMS: You never change your passwords...ever!
This was my most heinous offense. I've had one password forever. It's easy to remember and possibly listed on every website I've ever registered at. I bet it would be real easy to try username combos and that password at any of the major banking or shopping sites. If it was my password 3 years ago, it would be my password now.
SYMPTOM: You use the same password for most sites
This is another very common symptom. This is how hackers make their money. They get your password via a benign little email signup and try it at a ton of major financial sites.
A side note: more and more sites are looking sketchier and sketchier. I often wonder if they are just setup to get a username and password combo to try everywhere. Think about it, it'd proably work on many of us. Be careful!
SYMPTOMS: Your password can be found in the dictionary
The easiest hack to write is called a brute force attack. They write a program which tries every word in the dictionary. And your not safe when you use a 3 for and E. They've figured out that we do it and they’ve written all these combos into their hack.
So what's a Password Mismanager to do?
There are many tricks to recover from password mismanagement. Here are a few home remedies:
SOLUTION: Use different passwords everywhere
I know this is a pain, but it truly limits your exposure to fraud and identity theft.
SOLUTION: Change your passwords 3-4 time a year for high risk sites (banking, brokerage, frequent shopping)
Again, this is a pain, but again you are doing some real damage control.
SOLUTION: Securely store your list of passwords and sites
Having to open a piece of software to get your passwords everyday may also be a pain, but so is working with a lawyer to restore your credit.
While it is painful to protect yourself, it doesn’t have to be hard. That’s where we come in.
We are Safe-n-Secure software and we have developed several titles to help. We have an inexpensive, but powerful tool fo remembering your passwords. For only $14.99, we offer Safe-n-Secure Password Manager. With it you can manage your passwords using 256 bit AES encryption, the same level of encryption that the US Government uses. It features a quick search tool, many categories and a backup scheduler. If you’re interested, you can read more at here
We also have a data protection suite, Safe-n-Secure Privatize Platinum. It takes that password manager and bundles it with a tool for password protecting files, password protecting folders, shredding sensitive documents and best of all: it contains a license for protecting three computers.
I hope your rehab goes as smoothly as mine did!
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