Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Internet Safety Month in 2012 Got Off to a Rocky Start I'd Say

We are all told that everyone needs to play it safe on the Internet and be careful with passwords and personal information. We are told that more education and awareness is needed. True enough I suppose, but when the hackers are breaking into some of the most sophisticated information systems on the planet run by our government and large corporations, are we really safe? That is doubtful, so what's a person to do? Well, let's talk about that for a moment.

Why you ask? Well it is supposedly "Internet Safety Month" as I write this article in June of 2012. Oh, you didn't hear about that? Well, there was an interesting piece in Homeland Security News on June 12, 2012 titled; "June is National Internet Safety Month," which stated;

"Private organizations and government agencies collaborate in promoting June as National Internet Safety Month; the sponsors encourage all Internet users to follow three simple steps when connecting to the Web: STOP - THINK - CONNECT; the National Cyber Security Alliance also encourages Internet users to take a few moments to teach a young person about better online safety so that they use good judgment and behavior all-year long, so when connecting to the Web: Stop. Think. Connect."

Yes, well, good stuff indeed, good advice, but the reality is that if a sophisticated hacker network wants into your computer system, good luck stopping them. Now then, if you post personal information on Facebook, have your resume on LinkedIn, buy stuff online, have a PayPal Account, Amazon Account, pay your taxes online, or do online banking then someday someone is going to hack into your financial information, have your social security number, account numbers, password, and access to credit card information, etc. It's only a matter of time, not if, not in my opinion, merely when.

Sounds too over-the-top doom-and-gloom? Well, consider the number of companies which have been hacked into just in 2011 and 2012, and the hackers are getting better, even if the security is tightening down. Trust no one I say.

In fact, if this truly is Internet Safety Month, well that LinkedIn hacking job with all those stolen passwords sure put a dampener on any sort of cause for celebration, yes it was only a social networking site, but how many people use the same passwords across multiple domains and websites - one survey said 80% meaning all those passwords hacked are only the beginning of the mischief and a foreshadowing of things to come. Please consider all this and think on it - it's not my attention to scare you - just help in awareness is all.

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