Consumer programme X-Ray recently carried out an interesting experiment.
4 volunteers gave an IT security expert their name and email address. Armed with just those 2 pieces of information, he was able to find out the following:
- 2 of their mobile phone numbers.
- An alternative email address used by one of the volunteers.
- A previous job someone had worked in.
- A post code.
- An answer to one of their secret security questions.
In 2 instances the information he unearthed would have allowed him to take over their accounts, including an Amazon account. Now there’s a reason for deleting your payment method after every transaction.
Here are a few ways you can protect yourself online:
- Never use as a password or the answer to a security question any piece of information that you have ever published.
- Choose strong password (more info).
- Avoid posting your email address, mobile phone number, address or post code online.
- Do not advertise when you are away from home.
- See also The Perils of Social Media.
You can see the X-Ray experiment about 13 ½ minutes into the programme.