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Two New Books for Privacy

By Lance Hickerson, Reference Department

61McfPOZDqLAs discussed in my previous article, it’s important to keep your information safe. In addition to good advice online, there are some new books in the library that might be of interest to our patrons. One is entitled, 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before … Your Identity Was Stolen (The 99 Series, 2014) by Robert Siciliano. The author provides clear explanations concerning types of identity theft as well as ways to protect yourself online.

He covers “99 Things” in the form of questions, like, for instance question # 18: “How would Cybercriminals Go After Me?” His answer includes the following:

  • If the wireless Internet connection in your home or office is not secure, you’re vulnerable.
  • If the operating system on your computer is not up to date, you’re vulnerable.
  • If the browser on your computer is outdated, you’re vulnerable.
  • If, while on your own computer, you visit risky websites or online gaming sites that are hosted in foreign countries, you’re vulnerable.
  • If you download pirated software, movies, or music, you’re vulnerable.
  • If you engage in illicit activities on the Internet, you’re vulnerable.
  • Even if all of your security software is updated, if you enter credit card information into a website that is not properly secured, you’re vulnerable.
  • If you enter your Social Security Number into a website that is not properly secured, you’re vulnerable.
  • If you provide you data to a company that believes they are fully secure, but whose employees might open phishing email that can compromise their entire network, you’re vulnerable”   (pp. 30-31).

Throughout the book, the author relates a wealth of data, like the following regarding simple passwords: “When 32 million passwords were exposed in a breach last year, almost 1 percent of victims were using 123456. The next most popular password was 12345. Other common choices are 111111, princess, qwerty, and abc123. Avoid these types of passwords, which are easily guessed” (p. 166).

51V1ngQ19JL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_A second new book of interest to our patrons is Cyber self-defense : expert advice to avoid online predators, identity theft, and cyberbullying (Lyons Press, 2014) by Alexis Moore and Laurie Edwards. The book is rich in practical insight and personality profiles helping readers identify persons of concern. In discussing “How to Avoid Becoming a Cyberattack Victim,” she gives several pages of helpful action steps. Among her suggestions:

  • Install spyware protection.
  • Create a junk mail account.
  • Use special screen and email names.
  • Do not fill out all the fields when registering online.
  • Read and monitor privacy policies.
  • Ask friends and family to be cautious about posting your private information.
  • Choose unusual answers for your security questions.
  • Don’t open emails or click on links from strangers.
  • Use only a secure, designated PC for online banking.
  • If you think you have a cyberstalker, move fast. (pp. 161 – 165).

Author Robert Siciliano above points out two important numbers: the average time victims spend repairing their lives from new fraudulent accounts is 165 hours, while the average time victims spent repairing their existing accounts is 58 hours (p. 9). Just a few minutes of prevention following tips from these two books could save hours of cure.

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Choose Privacy

By Lance Hickerson, Reference DepartmentPAW-poster-02-AW

The beginning of May is set aside for observing Choose Privacy Week. This is a time we ask our patrons to consider ways to protect their private information while using the internet, whether in the library, on the go, or at home.

It’s no secret why privacy is a pressing concern these days. As more and more people across the world spend more and more time on the internet, some users make a career of stealing personal data. This causes major complications for those affected.   In just the year 2008, identity theft cost Americans $54 billion in loss. Further, the average amount of time victims spent repairing the damage done by the creation of new fraudulent accounts is 165 hours.  Protecting our private information is important.

What are some basic tips to follow?   Here are a few from the site OnGuardOnLine.

  • Use Security Software That Updates Automatically
  • Treat Your Personal Information Like Cash
  • Check Out Companies to Find Out Who You’re Really Dealing With
  • Give Personal Information Over Encrypted Websites Only
  • Protect Your Passwords
  • Back Up Your Files

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What are some basic privacy tips to remember when I’m using the computer in the library?  The American Library Association suggests the following:

  • Delete you browsing history
  • Log Out of all accounts
  • “Remember me” NOT: Make sure the remember me function is NOT enabled on a public computer.
  • Look for the “s”: Make sure sites are security enabled. Look for websites with https:// or “shttp://” which means the site takes extra measures to secure your information. Http:// is not secure.
  • Get savy about Wi-Fi hotspots: to protect your information do not conduct personal transactions requiring person data such as banking on Wi-Fi hotspots or public computers. Wait to conduct these on a private home computer.

 I’ll be providing more tips soon to help people keep their information safe.  In the meantime, stay safe.

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