Don't Be the Next Ashley Madison Victim
Something to think about the next time you sign up for that fringe streaming service...
With the recent news of the extramarital affair website getting hacked and the information of over 32 million user accounts compromised. Here are four things people could have done to protect themselves online.
Almost every day we hear of more websites being hacked. From Government websites like the IRS and Healthcare.gov, to commercial banks, retail stores and many other smaller websites as well. The internet these days is not a safe place for your personal information.
With all the news of the Ashley Madison site hack and the names and personal info of people from all kinds of professions released and made public. This kind of information can destroy marriages and people's lives. Yet in this staggering number of 32 million user accounts compromised, there was a very small group of people that came out of this incident completely unscathed.
Here is how you can protect your online identity:
Always Use an Email Address not linked to your Internet Provider AccountIf you can, try and use a disposable email address like mailinator.com
Unfortunately some sites know about these type of disposable email sites and will require another type of email address. In this case look for more "disposable email" sites in Google. They may not of made it to their ban list. Look for sites like mailinator that don't require you to register an account to use.
At last resort, you can create a fake Gmail, Yahoo or MSN email address and use this email address instead of the one linked to your home or work internet account. When you sign up for these email accounts never use your real name or personal information.
For Online Payments get an Anonymous Prepaid Visa or MasterCard Credit CardJust go to any large department store and you will see prepaid credit cards on the rack you can buy with cash. These can be used online to make purchases just like real cards. Just make sure your balance on the card is enough to cover any costs.
When Signing up For An Online Account Don't use Your Real Name and AddressWhile this may sound like a no brainer, think about this. The Ashley Madison list of names released contained names of people from many different professions. There were Doctors, Lawyers, Politicians, Government Workers, Hollywood Celebrities, Sports Stars and more.
These were intelligent people who were caught off-guard. By using a fake name and address, along with a disposable credit card and fake email address, if a site get's breached and your fake personal info is released, it's just another day.
Protect Yourself with a Proxy or VPNOut of the two a paid VPN is more desirable as it is usually much faster then free VPN or Proxy services. HideMyAss is an excellent VPN which has servers in many countries around the globe. This is useful if trying to bypass geoblocks that will only let you watch certain content if your IP address is located in a county on the "Good List". By setting your VPN to the country that the content you want to watch is located in on your Router, you will be able to then access all the same content as if you lived there.
A VPN will also protect your IP address which is almost always recorded and logged at each website you visit. Using a VPN is the another great step you can take to protect your online identity.
Even though many VPNs are in countries where they are not required to keep records, don't think of a VPN as a tool to commit criminal acts online with impunity. Most VPN providers will hand over any information they have, rather risk getting shut down themselves.
Realistically you can't always protect your personal information online. Yet there are times when signing up to sites that offer access to movies and shows which you know are not from a legitimate source, or many other websites as well where being discrete just plain makes good sense.
Using these simple steps outlined here, can help make the difference between keeping your identity safe online or becoming just another statistic on the Nightly News.