by Cherszy (@cherszy)
What are you gonna do about that?
So, I’m not really going to hack your account because I’m not that evil. But, if you don’t start learning how to click on that ‘Log Out’ button soon, I might just consider the idea of hacking your accounts for a living (don’t know how that’s gonna turn out for me, but there’s always that book called ‘Hacking for Dummies’).
I understand that the first thing most people (read: you) do when they get hold of a computer (with a working internet, of course) is probably log on to their e-mails and social networking accounts – Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Linkedin, Friendster (this is still alive?), Google+, Multiply, myspace, Plurk, Foursquare, you name it. Don’t deny now. Okay, fine, if it makes you feel better, that’s what I do (damn, I hate it when I’m being so honest).
I also get the fact that taking part of social networking sites can be advantageous to some extent – you are updated with your friends’ lives even though you don’t see one another that often, you are informed of the latest news or happenings before newspapers hit the stands, and you know that Justin Bieber crashed a wedding without watching TV (no? This isn’t an advantage? What’s that? You don’t care? So, moving on…).
But, seriously, what is up with people leaving public computers while still logged on to their social networking accounts or e-mail accounts? Uh, just in case you haven’t heard, there’s this thing called ‘hacking’ which you should be very much fearful about because it can turn your privacy into something non-existent. And well, I guess there’s a reason why there’s a ‘Log Out’ or a ‘Sign Out’ option on the screen (and no, they’re not for complexity’s sake or for additional design on the page).
Complaining about not enough privacy settings being offered by Facebook or Twitter is one thing, but being careful about protecting your own privacy is another thing. Yahoo Mail and Gmail are trying to protect your e-mail accounts from being hacked by asking for security questions and things like that, so try showing appreciation for these efforts by not blatantly leaving your e-mails open to tempt strangers from hacking (remember, your e-mail accounts are your gateway to most applications on the web – it’s where forgotten passwords are being sent, so be extra careful). So, some words of wisdom or advice or whatever-other-term-you-can-think-of from me: don’t complain about the lack of available privacy options when you can’t look after your own privacy in your own way, such as making sure you log out of your accounts before leaving a public computer.
I’ve encountered these careless instances too many times to not notice it and to not talk about it. I’ve used a computer where a girl still has her e-mail open on Mozilla Firefox. I’ve also used a computer where another girl is still logged on her Facebook (and her friend just messaged her on chat). Encountering such cases is just too common.
Heck, even Tommy Lee Jones has encountered one! This unhealthy habit is slowly becoming a trend, and while it’s funny to read stories about friends who get hacked by their own friends and to read status updates that go like “I’m so damn hot that you’d melt on your seat!” and “I’m so in love with myself because I’m so friggin’ pretty!” on our friends’ pages, I think it’s important to also learn from where our friends have failed to protect their dignities while they still can. You can still save your faces, so go do just that!
You’re lucky if the person who’s going to use the computer next is someone as nice as Tommy Lee Jones (or me) who’s going to simply sign out for you when they catch your account still logged on. But, what if that person isn’t as nice? What if he/she starts posting nasty things on your page (e.g. leaves mean messages on your friends’ profiles) or uses your account to hack your friends’ accounts (I don’t exactly know how they do it, but hackers are very “talented”, so who knows what they are capable of)? Or, what if the person gathers personal information about you from your profile (e.g. birthday, photos, e-mail addresses) and use these data to invade your privacy and ruin your life (e.g. your bank accounts, credit cards)? Setting your Facebook pages to show personal information to friends only becomes useless now as a stranger has now gained access to what you don’t want people you don’t know to know.
Hackers can manage to remotely break in your private profiles, so just imagine how much easier you’re making privacy invasion for them by leaving your social networking accounts and e-mails out in the open. Don’t tease them. Don’t lure them in, so you don’t easily become the victim. Protect yourself as much as you can. Start by always remembering to log out every time you log in (LILO – log in, log out – remember that).
This is a serious business people, so don’t just shrug it off. Many have fallen victims to hacking, but it’s too late to even regret it.
“I wish I had logged out from Twitter that day.”
Too late dear User. Too late.
So, don’t wait to be hacked before acting upon it. As the doctor always says, “An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of medication”. Listen to your doctor, okay?
Everybody’s entitled to his/her privacy, so don’t just throw that away. Be a considerate and careful internet user and social networking member. Don’t hack and don’t allow yourself to be hacked. Simply put, always log out (whether it’s your account or not – don’t be nosy). Clear all browsing data as well. Don’t click on the ‘Remember Password’ option too.
And don’t be so confident about leaving your e-mails and social networking accounts open in your own computers as well. You never know when your laptop’s gonna get stolen or fall into the wrong hands (hopefully never, but you don’t control the circumstances). If I’m not mistaken, it’s also easier for remote hackers to hack into accounts that are already open. I don’t know about the truth value of that, but just to be sure, log out even when you’re using your own computer. Come on, it doesn’t take more than 1 minute to log out!
I want you to stay safe when using the internet because you deserve your privacy. Don’t prove me wrong, so for goodness’ sake, LOG/SIGN OUT! Or else, I’m really going to hack your Facebook account. And mind you, my powers are not just limited to Facebook.
What precautionary measures are you taking when you use the internet and/or social networking sites? Share your tips in the comments section!