This week: Zombies
No, not the human kind--the digital account kind. How many times have you had to sign up on a website to check one thing out and never returned? Do you even remember having to sign up? You have accounts all over the Internet; do you remember the user IDs and passwords? Can you get rid of accounts you no longer use? Even if the only information on that account is your name and address, email address and password, your personal information is on the Internet waiting for hackers to find it. And if you use the same password for every account your digital life can be compromised. Then there are questions about companies that have been closed, bought or sold; what do they do with their digital lives? Usually, a company’s customer data is included with the sale to the purchaser.
I used to be a member of Seattle Filmworks and had a digital account, which included my credit card information. They sold to Shutterfly, and while I have never logged into Shutterfly, after the sale, I got several emails telling me I could sign in with my old account information. Does Shutterfly still have my credit card number? Fortunately, once the credit card expires, it is no longer useful to the companies, but could a hacker get that number and expiration date and figure out the new expiration date and still use the card in places that do not require the CCV number?
Unfortunately, I do not have definite answers for these questions, but some should be answered in the privacy statements on the websites. But many companies have no policies on Zombie accounts, either the ones that people have merely forgotten, or ones of people who have passed on. My solution is to write down in one place every website you have signed up on, and if you no longer use one, go back and see if you can delete the account, and read the privacy statement to find out if that does delete ALL your information and not just access to the web site. Then, make sure your heirs know where this account record is so they may clean up your digital life along with your physical life. And Google your name a few times a year to see what the Internet has on you.
‘til next week
Robert - 360-497-3130 Cell
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Index to Past ComputerFAQ Columns:
May 1, 2013
Zombies Search Your Personal Info
April 24, 2013 Java and Adobe Updates NOT to be Ignored
April 17, 2013 Passwords And Email
April 10, 2013 Spring Cleaning-The Inside
April 3, 2013 Spring Cleaning for Your PC
March 27, 2013 Microsoft WORKS Great Substitute for Office
March 20, 2013 Windows 8 UPDATE
March 13, 2013 Helpful Equipment
March 6, 2013 Build Your Own PC
February 27, 2013 Build Your Own PC
February 20, 2013 More Help with Viruses
February 13, 2013 VIRUSes How Did I Get It?????
February 6, 2013 VIRUSes EXPECT A BAD YEAR!
January 23, 2013 Protect Your Computer from JAVA Vulnerability
January 16, 2013 Driver Update Managers
January 9, 2013 Unwanted Programs & Tools Bars
January 2, 2013 Randome Loss Of Interne
December 19, 2012 Recovery Disks
December 12, 2012 Warranty Service Part 2