Keeping yourself and your data secure: Passwords and more
Some recent events both in-school and in the wider world of technology have heightened the importance of protecting your passwords and other personal information.
Firstly, the discovery that the iPhone keeps a log of user locations has alarmed many and led to class action lawsuits against Apple. In one respect, this is nothing new: any cell phone carrier (including ETC) must triangulate a user's location in order to provide proper coverage and ensure calls go through, and this data is kept on the phone company's servers.
However, the fact that this data is also stored on the phone implies that it could be easier for information about a person's location and movements to get into the hands of unauthorized or unscrupulous persons. Furthermore, we've had a couple of incidents at school where some people obtained others' passwords through accessing the victim's computer. We are dealing with the people involved and alerting others about how to avoid such problems, but it does highlight the fact that passwords and other personal information can and does get stored (usually through the person's decision) on a computer– and that should the computer fall into others'hands that information could be found and used.
As we use more technological gadgets – smartphones, personal laptop computers, etc. - that can store our data and information about us, we need to be aware of what information we keep on our devices and how important it is to protect that information.
First, know what information you're saving on your devices. Passwords? Financial information? Personal contact details? Understand what information is kept and where. Second, protect your devices. Have a password so that others can't get into the device. Multiple passwords (passwords on individual files) can be an extra protection. No password is unbreakable, however, so it's also important to protect your devices against loss or theft. Once someone else has your device, they can get into the information on it if they want to hard enough.
In today's wired and connected world, there are many advantages of having our information available – we can get contacted by distant family, found by long-lost friends, find others with similar interests. However, it also becomes easier for our information to become available to people we don't choose. Caution and care in using, storing and sharing our information is important for us all.