The Norman Transcript

Business

November 3, 2013

How to lock down your online messages, Part 1

NORMAN — How can normal computer users protect themselves against Internet criminals who use online messaging systems such as email? Is such a goal even attainable?

Yes, with some effort and a little learning, online messaging security is possible. Perfect security and super easy, “no thinking involved” security do not exist, but pretty darned good security can be achieved by anyone willing to try.

Keep in mind when reading my recommendations that I do not make the rules for Internet safety and security; I just tell you what they are, so don’t get mad at me if what I say challenges the way you do things.

No, Mrs. Jones, you cannot use “Princess” as your password. Don’t shoot the messenger. For those who prefer no-frills, “just the facts, please” explanations, I submit the following, which applies to all online messaging systems like email, Facebook, instant messaging, etc.

1) You must use strong passwords for your online accounts, unless, of course, you actually want your email account to be hacked. Most hacked email accounts got that way because of one thing: their owners used crummy passwords. Visit my website and read my 6-24-12 column titled “Crummy passwords = hacked email accounts” for a more thorough explanation, and you’ll learn why “everyBasketball7should$” is a very strong password.

2) Most online accounts require that you know the answers to pre-determined “security questions.” It is recommended that you do not give truthful answers to those questions or give answers that anyone else in the world could possibly know; in other words, give fake answers. Read my 2-26-12 column titled “Give fake answers to security questions” to learn why.

3) Don’t give your email address out to people who don’t really need it. Some folks seem to think they are required to do everything that is asked of them, but honestly, does the local grocery store really need your email address so you can get a super-duper saver card? I say no, they do not need it, and if they insist on having an email address associated with your name, I have no qualms whatsoever in giving them a fake email address. You can even establish a separate “give-away” email address for free at Yahoo or Gmail and give that address to intrusive types who insist on grabbing every personal detail of your life.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Business
  • Chamber Banquet During annual banquet, Chamber of Commerce promotes moving Norman forward

    Amidst the backdrop of music, dancing, dinner and fellowship, business leader Mike Fowler announced that the time for a quality-of-life initiative in Norman has come. As incoming Norman Chamber of Commerce board chairman, Fowler and ...

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Women leaders announced

    The Norman Chamber announced the nominees for the 2014 Women’s Leadership Award, which honors female leaders who actively inspire other women to achieve their full potential.  Past recipients of this honor, formerly known as the ATHENA ...

    April 17, 2014

  • Norman use tax takes a hit while Moore sales tax flounders

    Norman use tax took a hit this month while Moore’s sales tax floundered for the first time since sales picked up in the post-tornado recovery period. For the city of Norman, however, sales tax collections are a bright spot on the revenue ...

    April 13, 2014

  • Nextep moves back to Dillard Building, but this time with much larger presence

    In 1997, entrepreneur Brian Fayak was just getting Nextep Inc., a professional employer service, started. Fayak had been working out of his sister’s house in west Norman and was delighted when the opportunity came to rent an executive ...

    April 13, 2014

  • Spotlight

    Chiropractic award Megan Borne, a chiropractic assistant at Sparks Clinic of Chiropractic in Norman, was recently awarded the title of C.A. counselor with the Pinnacle Chiropractic Management Group. She will assist other chiropractic ...

    April 13, 2014

  • Primrose presents Leadership class grads

    On Tuesday, the Norman Chamber of Commerce graduated both Leadership Norman and Tomorrow’s Leaders. Over the past several months, participants attended interactive sessions covering a variety of topics including communication, education, ...

    April 13, 2014

  • Business and restaurant survey online now

    The city of Norman is seeking input from its residents about retail shopping and restaurant opportunities that they would like to see locate to Norman. On Thursday, the city published a link to an online retail and restaurant survey on ...

    April 13, 2014

  • Norman Nation

    In 1964, when my father was a University of Oklahoma student, he and my mother were in desperation car shopping mode because their vehicle had just died. As the story has been told for nearly 50 years, the Ford dealership had not opened ...

    April 13, 2014

  • Spring cleaning: Time to change passwords again

    Are you in the habit of regularly changing the passwords for your online accounts? You should be — changing passwords regularly is a required part of every wise Internet user’s safety routine....

    April 13, 2014

  • Regional partnerships build prosperity

    Job creators shop for sites, regional marketing professionals told Norman’s Economic Development Advisory Board on Thursday. That makes selling the central Oklahoma region with its diversity of site options and amenities a business savvy ...

    April 6, 2014