Wednesday 4 February 2009

St. Albert Chamber Breakfast Talk - “Internet Street Smarts” Summary

I gave a talk this morning at the St. Albert Chamber of Commerce’s business breakfast on “Internet Street Smarts”. That is, being aware of some of the areas we need to watch out for ourselves when it comes to using the Internet.

For credit cards:

  • Rotate the credit card numbers at least once every two years. If the Card issuer does not allow for us to initiate the number rotation, “lose” the credit card to have a new one issued.
  • If possible, use only one credit card for online transactions.
  • If possible, use a third party payment system such as PayPal to mitigate card number exposure.
  • If the card issuer will allow, have the limit on the card used for online transactions to be under $1,500.00.
  • Verify if the card issuer will callback on a “suspicious” transaction.
  • Sign up with a credit monitoring service with Equifax or Trans Union to keep a line on what is happening with the credit profile.

Knowledge was minimal when it came to the Heartland Payment Systems breach (previous blog post). Being aware of where the credit cards are being used, along with how the transactions are processed, will help to mitigate the possibility of the card or cards being compromised.

We then broke for breakfast.

For the second half of the talk, I focused in on having information out there on the Internet and the impact that can have on us.

Mention of the Pipl search services was made to make it clear that any information that we have put out on the Internet is available to virtually anyone else with a little bit of skill and knowledge.

If possible, it is preferable to not publish:

  • University degrees, dates, and other relevant post secondary information.
  • High school graduated and the year.
  • Specific bits of information about our personal or business past that does not need to be out there.

The following rhetorical question was asked:

If I have a 44 magnum pointed at your chest, it is loaded and ready to fire and I ask for your purse or wallet, what are you going to do?

100% of those attending said that they would hand over their purse or wallet.

The point was made that unless they were running Windows Vista and had the ability to Cancel when UAC prompted them for a surreptitious software install such as AntiVirus 2009 (previous blog post), the only option for them is to log off or reboot the machine without touching the A/V 2009 window! Why? Because the window is wired to install the bad software no matter what button or area in the window is clicked on! That is the closest thing to having that gun pointed right at us.

The last area I spoke on was the “Free”  software or service phenomena. As business owners we understand that no matter what we put out the door in the way of products or services, there is a cost associated with them.

It is no different with those who offer “Free” products or services.

So, to protect ourselves, we need to be very careful when we read through the Terms & Conditions as well as the Privacy Policy. We need to figure out where the hooks are and whether we are comfortable with them. If not, just say “No!”

Find a reputable service provider and pay them. We can then be reasonable assured that our information is being held safe and sound.

The onus is on us, both personally and in our business, to be aware of how our information is being used and act accordingly.

Philip Elder SBS MVP
Microsoft Small Business Specialists

*All Mac on SBS posts are posted on our in-house iMac via the Safari Web browser.

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