Thursday, February 24, 2011

Shop Diagnostics: June Vintage

via on Pinterest

In 2009, Americans lost almost $560 million to internet crimes. Countless businesses and individuals lost productivity hours, information {customer/individual/financial, etc.} and a feeling of security {theirs and their customers.}
Staying safe online, particularly when running a business or a blog, is mostly about having common sense. These steps are some common-sense ways of protecting you and your business while maintaining the open community that is so wonderful about the indie and homemade business community:
1. Pay attention to how much personal information you divulge online. Lots of small pieces of personal information can be put together to form a much bigger puzzle. Many people don’t realize that these little drops of information make it very easy for hackers to figure out passwords, etc. While your business may be small, customers still have made an intimate connection with you, giving you their home addresses, Paypal details, and contact information. Protect your customers and yourself by making conscience choices about what information you put {permanently} on the web.
2. Invest in a P.O. Box. While the likelihood of someone getting all stalker on you because of the handmade widget you sold them, this simple step can give your business a professional edge and you a safety shield.
3. Loose lips sinks ships: choose your words carefully. As military spouses or loved ones, we have a further obligation to be careful of what we share online. Beyond operational security issues and rules, it just doesn’t make sense to share intimate or specific details about your military member and when they are or are not at home. While my opinions about military life are important {and finding a voice for them online is a good thing!}, we must be careful about taking controversial stances on issues for safety and business reasons. I stand by the fact that being a pseudo-member of the military does not remove my right to free speech but at what cost to my business and professional online presence? Don’t allow your business or blog to be more about divisive politics then about your creative talent.
4. Beware of file sharing programs. I know many creative bloggers use peer-to-peer file sharing {Gnotella, LimeWire, etc.} to swap patterns, music, etc. However, when you install and run these programs, you leave your entire computer open to computer-savvy strangers that could access any piece of information on your computer or to attack your computer with malware. Like #1, you have your personal information as well as your customers information to be considerate of protecting…don’t make it easy.
5. Always assume everything you say on the internet is permanent. With blogging and business building, we strive from search engine optimization. We want to be found. However, when we make decisions to say or post something, even if we “remove” it from a website, there are archives and screen-shots that make things impossible to erase from the web. The anonymity of the web gives us the ability to say things that we would never say face to face, but professionalism gives our blog or business the legitimacy to further our efforts to achieve our dreams.
Please visit my blog {} to add your comments or questions. This is a Homefront-specific version of Part 1 of a series on Online Safety. Coming up: online safety for personal users and a Q&A session to answer your questions!

Who I am: Hi, I am Heather of June{Vintage} but many of your remember me from Camp Cupcake Designs. I worked 10 years in law enforcement, 6 of those as a computer and high tech crimes investigator. I am a certified computer forensic examiner {I can find all your dirty secrets that you thought you deleted!} and am finishing my Masters of Science degree in Computer Forensics. I have taught computer safety and computer forensics to kindergarteners, college students and senior adults. I am a mother to one and have been living the dream with my Sailor for almost 11 years. 

3 comments: said...

Great reminders....Thanks for sharing!

Leslie said...

Great post with great reminders & tips! I am shocked daily by some of the personal information I see people post on their blogs and facebook accounts. Often times I don't think they really think about the potential consequences of posting such things.

jenharruff said...

Thank you for sharing! These are all excellent tips. I am especially glad you mention how we must be careful of when our military member is away or home. We all need to think about protecting ourselves.