Wednesday, March 4, 2020

The Ides of March Cometh

In a few days March 15 is going to show up on the calendar, so why should we beware of that date? For one, it was a darned unlucky day for Caesar. If only he'd listened to that soothsayer, but no. When the guy tried to warn him, Caesar said, "He is a dreamer; let us leave him." As we know, this was not a good idea.

When you get some well-intended warnings, I say pay attention. And that brings me to this rather odd segue. 

I was reading a magazine, and came across an article titled Clean Up Your Digital Trail. I almost flipped the page, but stopped when I read this: "You've probably accumulated a lengthy list of online accounts for everything from e-mail and social media sites to online search activities, purchasing history, and blogging platforms. Even if you stopped using the accounts ages ago, your digital footprints are still sitting there, a potential treasure trove of information for identity thieves."


Morguefile


When I'm writing, I do a lot of online searches. And I've been known to buy a few things from that big box store in the sky, like books. Also I shake in my buskins when I read "identity thieves," so I had to read on. I wanted to know the full extent of my digital vulnerability, and I wanted to know how to lessen it.

Here are some tips the article served up on sweeping those footprints away:



  • Delete or deactivate shopping & social network accounts you no longer use. Go to account settings, option to deactivate, remove or close. 

  • Use incognito mode when you search from now on. Duck Duck Go is one incognito browser that I use.


  • Get a VPN (Virtual Private Network) It creates a secure connection between your devices and the scary internet world. 

  • Deactivate old email accounts

  • Check your privacy settings on frequently visited websites, especial social media sites.

  • If you're in the EU, use the right to be forgotten option.

  • Don’t click on nutty surveys. These are called "clickbait," as the article said, you give up a lot more than you get in return. 
While this is a nice to-do list, you might also bone up on your phishing detection skills. Here's a QUIZ from Google that you can take to see how savvy you are. It's interesting and only takes a few minutes. I learned a lot.

I hope this bit of spring cleaning wards off the evil identity thieves (shudder). After all, writers have enough to be insecure about. There are probably more things a writer can do to protect himself, so if you have some suggestions let us know in the comments. 




Oh, and BTW, the Ides of March really is a good day. We might even have the first full moon of March. People used to celebrate when that happened. We should reinstate that tradition. 

21 comments:

nashvillecats2 said...

Loved the theme of your post Lee. A great read.

Yvonne.

Liza said...

Excellent information. Thank you for sharing.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I have deactivated some old accounts. (Plus found quite a few that went under all on their own. LOL)

Nissa Annakindt said...

Some great advice. Though I'm glad I haven't cleared out ALL my old abandoned Blogger blogs since I can't seem to start new ones on Blogger now so have to repurpose old ones.

Natalie Aguirre said...

I need to take some of these steps too. Thanks for the great advice.

Jemi Fraser said...

Definitely something I should check out - thanks for the tips!!

Karen Baldwin said...

Definitely need DuckDuckGo. Thanks for sharing your list.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Thanks for the tips. As a Ninja, I need to go incognito.

Yolanda Renée said...

Thank for that! Time to do some online cleaning!

Rachna Chhabria said...

Thanks for all the tips. I'll be extra cautious now and make sure I don't leave a digital trail anywhere.

Juneta key said...

Great ideas and advice.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Great mind thinks alike. I used my husband's ipad to check this morning. I was surprised by many of the links under my name were no longer viable. My mistake. I deleted my old blog address when I should have kept it. But the designer moved everything over to my new one. Only if someone was looking for me, they'd get error. Better fix that, huh? Great post, Lee. You are a variable fountain of useful information.

J.Q. Rose said...

I never thought about those old links still flying around cyberspace. I discovered my garden for eatin' blog is not on blogger anywhere. I lost all those wonderful pics and articles. But I can't blame them--it's been 5 years and I'm sure they need all the space they can get. I have the pictures in files, but will probably never look them up again. Thanks so much for the useful information.

Pat Hatt said...

I was thinking the other day what accounts I must have flying out there. Can't even remember the password to half of them. Had two old accounts some tried to hack. Nothing on em though.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

This is such good advice. Now I'm trying to think of any old email accounts I had. Not many.

Olga Godim said...

Great advice! I need to go and clean up my digital trail.

Patsy said...

A full moon seems like a nice thing to celebrate.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Debra Renée Byrd said...

Those are good tips. I get e-mails when old accounts I used to use were hacked, and they've certainly slowed down.

Lynda Dietz said...

Great post and a solid list of reminders to clean house when we stop using certain sites. I recently had to change a password (legitimately while using a site) because they thought that password may have been compromised, and I had to look through my password book to find all the sites I may have used that particular one so I could change it. Ugh.

I like your quiz! I got 7/8, and only missed the final one because I got to second-guessing myself and marked it as phishing when it was legit. But I didn't miss any of the others . . . I guess I'm naturally suspicious.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Lee - thanks for all these tips etc ... I'll be going through it - I hope! Cheers ... Hilary