June 15, 2012
LO’s IT manager Ian Service has provided some good advice on protecting yourself from online predators.

A recent Twitter interaction fooled a few LO staff and members into clicking on a link, which tricked them into giving away their Twitter log-in information. Fixing the problem is as easy as changing your password to log into your account at Twitter.com.

But the problem could have been far more serious issues. For those who use the same password, you should change it everywhere else.  The malicious Twitter-user could use an automated program to test your email, user name, or password combination with any number of other sites you are registered with, which could compromise your data there.

To prevent a data compromise, the first rule is stay cautious on the net, even if emails or direct messages come from trusted associates or family. The next thing you can do is use a piece of password-tracking software like Last Pass http://lastpass.com/ or Keep Pass www.keepass.info/. These will allow you to supply its software with one complicated password, while it automatically encrypts all of your other passwords. You never need to remember more than one password, but you get the benefit of using many complicated passwords for each service you visit on the web. Alternatives like iKeePass or 1Password https://agilebits.com/onepassword also exist for your mobile phone, so your phone can store all your complicated passwords instead of your computer.

A good way to create passwords is through a few random words that mean something to you, but would be incredibly difficult for someone to guess. A password like 67gfgaGd12# is pretty hard for us to remember, but would only take a few weeks for a computer to crack. Instead, a password like Seculars Blackberry Tonka Professional is much easier for you to remember, but the uppercase letters and spaces make it complicated for someone else to guess when looking over your shoulder, and it would take hundreds of years for a computer to guess.

It’s a great idea to verify that your company’s password policies provide security and work for this modern age. Even if you have great passwords on all of your accounts, if one of your team leaders doesn’t have lock passwords on his phone and it’s stolen messages with sensitive information could unintentionally be exposed. In instances of missing or stolen phones, many email providers are able to remotely wipe your devices so no data gets in the wrong hands. Ask your email or cellular provider what protections they have in place for your data, mobile or with your computer.

Any comments or questions on IT issues, contact Ian at iservice@landscapeontario.com