Securing Your “Other” IDentity

Posted on December 10, 2011

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With services like LifeLock and ProtectMyID, you can co-opt the help of professionals in locking down your credit fraud exposure. They are able to stop the proliferation of your personally identifiable information in many cases, and can limit the damage in others. Some companies even offer “insurance”, saying that your Id is protected up to a certain amount if they fail to keep it secure.

That’s fine and dandy. But what about your other information?

You “other” ID lives on the web. Every Social Media account holds information about you, and you are the provider in most cases.

For a list of social sites, check out this absolutely HUGE Wiki list. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_social_networking_websites

The sites we hear about most commonly are Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Meetup and MyLife. Each of these houses your profile information, and has its own unique system of information sharing and lock-down.

The aspect of other ID you may not consider is the collection of posts, tweets, comments, “likes”, follows and other user-based input and opt in that you initiate. These things are collected and stored. Just look at the trail of information you leave behind. In aggregate, they paint a social picture of you that you yourself would have difficulty producing on demand. This very blog post will become part of my online ID. Our actions online are available to anyone with the right legal standing, or the right collection of the “wrong” skills. (Hackers….)

The more sites that you join, the greater your exposure. Do your self a favor and get to know, intimately, the security settings on your profiles. That, or have someone you trust to know the ins and outs to advise you. (I have one of those.) You will have a hard time keeping things straight in your head from one session to another. You will have an impossible time doing the same from one week to another. Make sure that your information is kept “just between friends”, except for the occasional post that you feel is sufficiently free of labeling information.

This is a hard thing to do. If you are concerned about your information being used against you, it’s even harder. I know of a few people that won’t join any site, for any reason. They are “gray men”, and feel much better about their way of life knowing that it is below many radars. Some people must cut their ties with the online world. They have accepted that it is fine to do things the old fashioned way… letters, some e-mail, phone calls and just plain ole personal visits and chats.

Evaluate what you do, your exposure and risks, and make it part of your plan to stick by whatever security measure you produce.

Remember, your plan is for you. It doesn’t matter much what others do.

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