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Identity theft and who has the keys to your virtual house?

Identity theft and who has the keys to your virtual house?

We were moving out of the neighborhood where we have lived for the past 23 years. Tracy, our neighbor, invited us over for a farewell dinner.  Tracy knows that I have been in technology for a long time and related the story of her recent identity theft where the thieves came very close to emptying her bank account. It started with the bad guys phishing and finding her personal email address. This data breach and cybercrime was incredibly invasive to Tracy as she now had to get rid of the personal email address she had used for over twenty years.

 

The front door to our virtual house, hence our privacy, is our personal email address. It seems we give this email address to everybody. Concerned about their privacy, many consumers simply get a second or third email they use as their ‘spam address’ – typically a Hotmail or Gmail address. So now we have two or three front doors to our virtual house. Susie Baszkeiwicz blogged in January about 9 reasons you should have more than one email address. Avoid spam & hackers, protect yourself, have a disposable email, have an alias and have a backup are 5 of her 9 reasons that we built Dodoname.

How many of us would hand out the keys to our front, side and back door of our regular house to every merchant or supplier who said, “I won’t sell to you unless you give me the keys to your house.” If that seems a little insane in the real world then why do we do it in the virtual world?

Consider that identify theft is a Type I invasion of our privacy and that spam is a Type II invasion of our privacy. Clearly a Type I privacy breach is more serious than Type II privacy breach.

For Type I protection most consumers continue to use their personal email address – the less secure email address. Why? Because there is no easy way to manage our secondary emails, which are filled with spam, and not really the place we want to collect and manager our ‘good’ communications. We shrug our shoulders and continue to use our personal email addresses for the really important stuff. The phishers know this. Consumers should understand what phishing is and how to protect themselves. Read this article from the Safety & Security Center at Microsoft for more information about how to protect yourself.

Using a Dodoname for key confidential registrations would eliminate much of the risk because a Dodoname can only ever be used by that one service. Moreover, the managed email system in Dodoname provides users with a powerful way to store and manage confidential communications. Finally, Dodoname is also designed as a marketplace where merchants and consumers can meet, sell and buy with confidence that the consumer’s private information is protected. Privacy with Personalization is the core architectural feature of Dodoname. Everyone should have a Dodoname.

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