The private and public dangers of identity theft

This post is also available in: עברית (Hebrew)

3385525_mLet us do a little experiment: Try to close your eyes and think of the number of people you know that don’t have an account in at least one of the social networks. You probably can’t name more than a few. Even more, even if there are those who haven’t opened an account and developed a virtual personna, they must own an electronic mail account. As this experiment proves, in the world we live in it’s next to impossible to avoid activity in the internet. In the past the term “identity theft” was used usually in regards to activity in the real world when someone steals a person’s identity and uses it in negative way, but our unavoidable presence in the virtual space has turned the issue of identity theft into a matter that can happen even more easily in the web.

So how can we protect our user accounts in different social networks and our e-mail accounts, so that no hostile factors can misuse our identity? In the past, using a complex password with letters, numbers and notes such as “!”, “@”, “*”, “$” etc., was sufficient protection. Today, however, it isn’t enough to protect us in the virtual space. There are some bodies, such as banks for instance, that require the user to identify with at least two simultaneous parameters made of two different and complex passwords.

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In work places, there is a great need to apply awareness among company employees on different security information issues, even if this seems obvious, since some people are still not aware of the significance of business information security as well as their own personal safety in their private lives. Another important issue for private and business information security is the use of AntiVirus software with a pleasant user experience for those not computer savvy. This is will make efficiently using protection programs much easier. The matter of biometric security, which has been common around the world as well as Israel lately, also has great importance.

It’s important to remember that that too has certain weaknesses as you can’t have 100% information security. For instance, a fingerprint can be duplicated by using a high resolution image of it. Biometric security measures are important and substantial for protecting information, but it must be combines with usual protection such as passwords.

Protecting our personal identity as well as infromation security instructions for commercial companies can be thought of as a personal matter with no national significance, but far from it. If a hostile factor manages to steal the virtual identity of an employee in a company defined a a national infrastructure in any country, the attacker can get information on his co-workers in that company, and so step and step, a penetration to the computer network to the inner employees’ network becomes a more substantial threat.