Anything you want secret should not be in digital form," Velasquez said. "People need to realize that the notion that they can entrust a company with their information is not reality.
"That's their (online companies') goal, and most of them have processes to make those best efforts. But hackers only have to be right once," she said.
"So, know that when you conduct business online, it can be compromised. And know what the consequences are."
Rebecca Herold, CEO of The Privacy Professor, recommends that Internet users take the following steps to make themselves as small a target as possible for blackmail:
- Never use your business or your most common personal email addresses, to join social media or risqué sites.
- Create an email address that does not reveal who you are – i.e. don’t use your name or address.
- If you created an alias email address to sign up for and see what a site was like, and then decide that you don’t want to be associated with it, delete that address.
- Don’t use any of your real personal information within a profile that accompanies an email alias.
- Use a strong password.
- Keep all personal information off the Internet, including social media sites. You don’t really need to put your address, phone number, birthday, etc., online publicly do you?
- Do not post risqué photos or videos of yourself online, or anything that could be taken out of context and used against you.
- Don’t be a troll, or post inflammatory messages online about hot topics that could offend a lot of people. That could open you up to being a target for blackmail.
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