February 20, 2007

"I'll Get You, My Pretty...."

...and your cellphone too.

Read this article in today's Star. No really. If you're reading this, you have a computer. Hackers have stepped up the war, and you need to protect yourself. They're coming after your cellphone now too, looking to hijack call lists and personal information.

Part way down the piece, is a truly scary revelation. They're retrieving your secret data out of thin air - literally. If you use any wireless connections, or if you connect two computers in your home with a router, you are vulnerable. The most reported form of fraud involves subbing in viable-looking websites that require you to enter sensitive information.

Take a closer look at sites you may use like eBay or your banking site. Make sure it's real. Resist the urge to click on any strange links - that's their entry into your computer and your life. Tell your kids the same thing. Tell them again. And again.

What can you do? As always, the first, most important step is one of the most overlooked. When you get new software, change the password that comes with it. It's the handwashing of the tech world. Everyone knows it, few do it.

Apparently, the password is often 'password'. Choose tougher passwords (forget the cats' names) and change them. Write 'em down on a sticky note if it helps. The article notes that's far safer than having a guessable password.

Nobody is immune, but I have a hunch our kids are more vulnerable. They are hugely tech-savvy, but life experience hasn't caught up with the raw talent. Keep an eye on them.


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