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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Readers & Writers: Be Secure

Plots about hackers are thrilling to read or watch in movies, but it's not so thrilling in real life.

Readers and authors spend a lot of time on the Internet. We shop for books and other items. Many of us read books on the computer. We research. We email, participate in discussion groups, visit blogs, and engage in social networking. In other words, we spend a lot of time at the computer.

When a hacker corrupts our email and attacks our accounts, we take it very personally because he's interfering with our online lives. Lately, several author friends have had their email hacked.

If you're a reader or a writer, and this has happened to you, here are some security tips to make sure it doesn't happen again. If you haven't been hacked yet, start practicing this today.

1. Always install software updates.

These would be: (1) security updates sent to you by the makers of your operating system (Windows, Apple, Linux), (2) productivity software updates sent to you by manufacturers like Microsoft Office, WordPerfect, Adobe, (3) updates to software used to connect to the Internet (browsers, email clients, iTunes, Quicktime, Java, etc.).

2. Always use a password different from your email password for a social networking site (Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn).

You may not know this, but most of the social networking sites don't have SSL encrypted login for users. Hackers know that most people use the same password for email, social network sites, and other login situations.

Since most social networking sites require your email as your user name, hackers immediately know your email addy. If he can get that, then he has a good chance of your intercepted logon password being the same as your email addy. Instant access to send spam & spread viruses using your email account.

If you've had your email hacked, and you get hacked again even after changing your email password, and, to complicate the issue, your anti-virus can't find anything, what's happened is that your email addy and password get captured anew because you still maintain the practice of using the same email address & password to access the non-SSL-encrypted social network sites.

Drop that habit like a, well, bad habit.

3. Use a different password for each social network site, and always different from your email password. That's an even better procedure.

Just like in novels, the bad guys are out there, and they're trolling for victims. Avoid becoming one. Always follow good security procedures.

(Kindle bestseller Joan Reeves is multi-published in print and ebooks. She frequently blogs about Internet safety and security on SlingWords).


  1. Great post, Joan. Thank you. I use several passwords, all different from my email password. To remember them, I use index card. On each card, the name and website, my user id, my password. All my index cards are alphabetically organized and attached with a big clip. In addition, my husband insists all of this information to be entered in an excell file, in acase I lose my cards pack. I Twitted and FB.

    1. Thanks, Mona,

      I use an address book for all my passwords since there are so many. I keep an Excel file on the computer that is never connected to the Internet.

      One can't be too careful. *g*

  2. Someone once hacjed my Facebooks account and spammed using my name to sell vitamin supplements. Annoying, but also a wake up call because I used the same passwork for all my online stuff except my bank. Now I have a variety of passwords and keep them written in code in an address book.

    1. Yes, we often learn hard lessons the hard way! Gosh, I think I know about 40 people who have been hacked at one time or another.

      Glad you found a method that works for you.

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  5. Always a nice reminder to be careful online...all the time.

  6. Good advice. We all need reminders! I also have a notebook with user names and passwords.