It depends. On the Internet, anyone can be a hacker. And the same is true for anything else, including web sites.
So what we ask is that, whenever you are dealing with a service like this, it’s always good to keep in mind who is the author and who is the client of the service. In a perfect world, the two identities should be the same; and the user should not have to worry if they are using a stolen login to the service, or if their identity was stolen when they accessed this service.
So don’t do anything stupid. Don’t give away your account. Don’t give your email to a service from which you don’t want to be informed. And if you have something in your possession, make sure that it has not been stolen from you. Don’t trust someone who offers you a free service for something that you shouldn’t have.
So how to protect yourself?
If you use online services, you should never forget to use a password for every feature you can think of. It means that your password should be changed regularly, always with you on the same machine as when you are creating your new account. If you use the same password on all your accounts, it is even better.
Do not let someone else access your account. This means keeping your email address, e-mail address, password, and all your other details secure. Use strong passwords, and don’t forget to use a combination of all your information, preferably including your social security number and all other personal information on your account.
Be careful where you give your IP address and which ports it is connecting onto. The security of your internet connection has always been on my mind. I’ve heard that in the past the IP address of all the servers for a given service can be found from a number of websites, but for better or worse, most services will keep these details private.
Lastly, if somebody has your money, don’t give it to them.
And don’t tell me that this information is not available online, so why you should trust someone to secure it, when you should trust your own actions to be safe?
About the author
This article first appeared on the BPS Research Digest website (http://www.bpsresearch.com)
What follows is an overview of the historical and scientific background behind this work. I am grateful to my friend and colleague Dr. David Naleway for inviting me to speak to
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