Recently I was reminded about the need to think about online security both on a professional basis as well as personal online security. We are continually having to login to one program or another on a daily basis, whether its the computer on our work desk, the library managements system, our blogs, Twitter accounts, Facebook accounts and the like. In the workplace the security risks are assessed by those in the IT department and you may be required to change your password on a regular basis but do we think about it on a personal basis and do the same thing? We have so many accounts that we login to both personally and professionally that it is getting harder to remember all the passwords. How many of us use the same password for more than one application? I know that I do - a lot easier to remember especially when I consider that I have to login to Twitter for both work and personally, for example.
What happens if our password is compromised - do we even think about the consequences and how we go about restoring our information. These days there are continual references in the media about people hacking into different organisations and stealing credit card information and passwords or warnings from government for people to change their passwords. Considering that there is encouragement towards cloud computing by companies like Google, Apple and others you do need to consider the security implications. Do you leave them to have back ups of your information or do you still do your own backup? These are things you need to conser yourself.
This is one question I'm continually asked about when I'm teaching the public in my library on using their email accounts, joining them up to Twitter or Facebook. Is my information safe - both as a privacy thing and a general security issue. We tackle this, our our IT departments on our behalf, on a regular basis but the seniors just getting their head around computers and the new technology hear the news flash about this company being compromised with credit card details stolen (or possibly stolen) or Facebook and the latest attack on it and they get scared that they will have their private information compromised if they join this thing called Facebook or Twitter. I'm not surprised that they get worried and while I can allay their fears you wonder how many of the seniors who would love to get involved in Facebook and other social media are frightened off by the news reports and the fear of the unknown.
I don't have the answers and I don't know that I'm on top of it myself at times but I do know that it's a question that I've been continually asked about when I'm teaching the Facebook class or the Twitter class. I'm only scratching the surface as far as online security is concerned - I haven't even looked at identity theft or even considered the implications other than on a superficial way. But it's something that I'm continually having to consider and the question is if I'm struggling how is anyone who is just starting out likely to feel?
Vesna Cosic is the Treasurer for ALIA Sydney. She also blogs at Library Dreamings and is on Twitter at @VesnaC