Internet Identity theft, what you should know

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It happened to me before, where i woke up and log into my gmail account and found empty inbox, all the incoming mails gone, no sent emails not even draft mails. I was devastated. For some reason i had trusted my account to extent that it started using it as my backup for very many important documents. I did not bother much to have a backup of some those documents soemwhere else. As it turn out, the previous day i had used a cyber in town and for some reason i did not log off properly. The next person who used that computer was probably given an option by Mozilla Firefox to restore the previous session. With that the bugger got into my account and did his/her things.

Then recently a friend had almost similar experience, for him he did not loose his account data, but the little nasty brat who got into his account starting chatting with his friends, sister. On the chat he started talking weird stuffs, curse words, F word and all the bad words one would come up with. The matter was saved when the sister realized that there is something wrong and called him. Fortunately he was still within the cyber he had used and going back he found the guy red handed.

Dangers of internet and the new Media

  • Identity theft is when someone you know — or don’t know — steals your identity and claims to be you. Like my friends case
  • Sexual predators are probably the worst-feared online danger. Because Internet users can remain anonymous or lie about their identities, your children (and even some adults) really don’t know with whom they are talking. Predators and pedophiles can use the Internet to exchange names, phone numbers, profiles, e-mails and even physical addresses with others pedophiles and potential victims. They can hide behind screen names (some of which are pseudonyms), make up profiles to portray someone they’re not and even post photographs of people they are claiming to be
  • Broadcasting too much on the internet. When looking for a job, you better clean up you profile in the social networks. You can login but you can no longer hide

I once read in a certain blog which i can’t remember now asking that if monocultures are bad, and hackers, time wasters, and evil doers follow us to whatever is most popular, literally worming their way into our programs and disrupting our lives, what should we do? What can we do?

To start with in the local scene, for those who use cybers it is very important that you clear your trail after using the computer in the cyber. Let say for example u are using Mozilla Firefox to access the internet, once you are through ensure that:

  1. Log off all your accounts, typical Kenyan would probably have not less thabn 2 accounts, for email and social network
  2. Clear private data (very important ). Go to Tools, then click on Clear Private Data, on the dialogue box which follows..clear cache

On the wider spectrum the following are some ways that you can use to avoid being the next victim of identity theft:

1. Change the administrator’s password regularly: If a hacker gets a hold of the administrator’s password, he, too, can change those settings. So, make it harder for a hacker to get that information. Change the administrator’s password regularly.

2. Limited signal coverage: Limit the strength of your wireless network so it cannot be detected outside the bounds of your home or office.

3. Turn off SSID broadcasting: When SSID broadcasting is enabled on a wireless network, this network can be identified by all wireless clients within range. Conversely when SSID broadcasting is disabled, the wireless network is not visible (to casual users) unless this code is entered in advance into the client’s network setting.

4. Don?t rely on WEP Encryption: Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) is often looked upon as a cure-all for wireless security concerns. This is overstating WEP’s ability. Again, this can only provide enough security to make a hacker’s job more difficult.

5. MAC Addresses: Enable MAC Address filtering. MAC Address filtering will allow you to provide access to only those wireless nodes with certain MAC Addresses. This makes it harder for a hacker to access your network with a random MAC Address.

Additionally, there are several ways that WEP can be maximized:

1. Use the highest level of encryption possible

2. Use “Shared Key” authentication

3. Change your WEP key regularly

What is your opinion on the topic?
Kennedy Kachwanya
Lead Blogger at Kachwanya.com
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Kennedy Kachwanya is a technology blogger interested in mobile phones both smart and dumb, mobile apps, mobile money, social media, startups ecosystem and digital Savannah. New media must not forget the strength of old tech.
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