SECURITY TIP OF THE MONTH!!! - YOUR DIGITAL FINGERPRINT
What kind of "digital fingerprint" are you leaving out there for the world to find?
We hear it all of the time..."watch your step online", "be careful not to give out personal information", "don't make yourself vulnerable to online predators"...and so on and so on.....
What you may not realize is that, there are a multitude of ways that you could be telling someone the "when, where and how" they need to know to rob you.
One of the biggest things I've come across has been WHOis. Who...WHAT(?); you might ask? WHOis! As in WHOis.com. Here's an example.
So you just started a business or you are an existing business that has grown. Are you in the public eye? If you're doing ANY kind of marketing, I sure hope so. So you got a website to market your business, help people find you....maybe even sell some of your items online. GREAT! I totally recommend it; it's a great hub for inbound and outbound marketing. SO...your website needs a name for people to go to; such as EalesOK.com or EalesElectronics.com. People have to know how to be able to find you in a way that's easy to remember. People might have a hard time going to your site if they had to remember 192.21.101.02...right? So you register your domain name...and you probably did it with one of the "big dogs" or "site/domain in a box" companies. You see your cost going up and up and up and you think..."I don't need private domain registration." WRONG!!! Maybe you simply registered a domain name in your spare time, set it up under your personal email and name real quick so that you could do more with it later. No harm no foul.......WRONG!!!
Now let me show you how dangerous this can be. Ready? I will give you a real example of one that I came across that I had to get involved in, in order to make sure nothing happened.
A guy buys a dealership for a very big car company and opens it up in a local city. He's a great guy and has a great reputation; or else the car company wouldn't have agreed to him having a dealership for them. He quickly registers his domain name that he wants right away so that it doesn't get taken by anyone else. He registers it with DogBaddy.com. Over the next few weeks he goes through the process of having a website built, picking a location, managing inventory, hire staff and sales people, lining out commercial air time and production...you name it. Evidently, DogBaddy.com offered him private domain registration but, being in a hurry or cheap (I didn't ask him), he didn't get it.
Now...here we are a little over a year later. Customers are coming in like you wouldn't believe. People are driving to this small town outside of the metro to buy cars from him because of his reputation. But...you can't please everyone. Someone will get a lemon (it happens), someone won't get financing and they thought their credit was awesome so the dealership is discriminating....I could go on and on. Here's how bad it is...I looked up his domain name on WHOis...it gave me some information. I went to Google with that information and was referred to Spokeo. By going to 2-3 websites, ONLY...I found out;
His wife's name AND Maiden name
His son's name
His home phone number
His cell phone number
His home address in Edmond (he didn't register it under the business address)
Previous associations (including employment)
Known/Possible Family Members
You can't please everyone...............NOW....let's say that you don't!!!
This is just ONE of MANY examples I could give of things that could be overlooked and could lead someone right to your door; either to find you or to NOT find you. They may want to rob you. Here's what a potential burglar may see with the above info.
When you're home or not home (your hours of business are on your website...easy enough to stakeout though).
Chances are, since you have a child, I'm gonna have to break in during school or daycare hours.
Wife may or may not work...doesn't take but a few more clicks to, potentially, find out!!!
I have the home phone number....I'll just call in the middle of the day a few times. No one answers...I'm good.
How much your home is worth can tell me a bunch about what kinds of things could be inside. One small stop to the county assessor website and I have that, when you bought it, who owned it before you...and much more. Most have pictures and floorplans.
Are you active on social media? Maybe you're not because you are a public figure and own a business. What about your wife? Does she have facebook? Oh look...you're on vacation in Florida......!!!!!!!!
The sad reality is that, I could go on and on. I'm not showing these things to scare you. I'm not demonstrating these things to inform you of what's out there about you on the internet. Chances are you know already. Ever, just....GOOGLE YOURSELF??? You should. The fact is that some things are unavoidable to be public record. Some things, you just won't be able to keep masked. But on the things that offer you that option...TAKE IT!!! Its' cheap and in most cases free!!! Notice how all of that started...I found out about his WORLD by looking at the registration for the domain of his business. For $1.99 a month with DogBaddy.com he could have had PDR (private domain registration). For FREE...he could have, simply, registered the name with his business name, location and phone number. It wouldn't have told anything that everyone didn't know already. He didn't do that.
The other sad reality is...it doesn't have to be a huge car dealership. It could be;
A specialty blog
A family website
A small online ecommerce store
Maybe you give balloon rides
A Cosmetics sales rep
....I'm sure you get the point. All are home based businesses. Safety is just $1.99 away. TAKE IT!
In closing...just BE MINDFUL of what you leave out there. I've already talked in one of my other posts about Social media and the things that could be used to hack your accounts with information you offer up freely to open a social media account. It only takes that one step to make sure that your personal information goes from EASY TO FIND to HARD TO ACCESS.
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