Hot diggity dog! I missed pulling one of my favorite April Fool’s jokes on some folks, but then I got to thinking how many folks are “fooled” every day into thinking they are safe and secure in the way they use the Internet.
Here are some bones to chew on.
1) Storing sensitive information on a thumb drive that you have attached to our keychain. Do you give your keys to parking lot attendants, oil changers, tire switchers, etc.? Do you leave your keys in a drawer while at work? Do you misplace your keys? Imagine what would happen to you if somebody put that memory stick into a computer and quickly downloaded stuff. At least put a password on your thumb drive, but better yet, don’t store sensitive information on one that you carry around. (This goes for smartphones, etc., too.)
2) Sharing passwords with co-workers, friends, repair people, etc. Sometimes we have to, but do you change it right afterward? By the way, how secure are your passwords? Do you know what one of the most common passwords is? “Password.” That’s right. Check out how secure your passwords are by going to http://howsecureismypassword.net. If you type in “password,” you will discover that it can be cracked INSTANTLY. BTW, it tells me that my current password would take 25,000 years to crack. I like that!
3) Do you attach stuff to your emails? Do you “encrypt” confidential information? You can by putting it into a WINZIP file and letting the recipient know the password to open it by some other communication. I bet you all knew that everything you send on the Internet is looked at by marketing folks, government folks, criminal folks, snoopy folks, etc. Does it help you sleep better at night to know all of them could be reading your confidential stuff? BTW, do you use free email servers such as Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc.? They are reading and categorizing all the contents of your emails, so, once again, be careful what you write.
4) Do you do Internet searches using Google, Bing, etc.? Then all your searches are being tracked and sold to marketers. Better search engines to consider using might be ones such as Metacrawler or Duckduckgo, which give the same search results without selling you down the road to being inundated with junk email from new sources.
In summary, practice safe Internet computing so nobody can call you a “fool,” even on April 1.
Did you hear? “The quickest way to double your money is to fold it and put it back into your pocket.”
Kelly J. Bullis is a certified public accountant in Carson City. Contact him at 775-882-4459, via BullisAndCo.com or on Facebook.