The world is now a global village, they say. So we’re all connected somehow, more so over the internet. This means one cannot exactly afford to not have an online identity because that’s where all the action is. However, it is only wise that we be cautious about what kind of online identities we have. Because cyber criminals…
So here are some Identity Strategies for y’all to get into:
1. AVOIDANCE: It is the best strategy for reducing risk related to giving out personal information. It simply means having ZERO online presence, avoiding certain social sites, not filling online forms. This way, the least personal information is disclosed. The downside to this is that it is often unrealistic, deprives you of the advantages of modern living and may just not be possible in some circumstances.
2. COMPARTMENTALISATION: Where Avoidance isn’t possible, try Compartmentalisation. This is having contextually separate identities from your real identity. For instance, you could have a social media account under an alias and reveal information about you there. So even if a criminal or say the HR Dept in your company does a search on you, there will be nothing liked to your real identity.
3. AUDIENCE: This is a little more risky. It means keeping your professional and personal networks separate by using say Facebook for only family & friends, and LinkedIn for only work connections. So basically, who ever is on your Facebook network is banned from your LinkedIn connections and vice versa.
This limits the exposure of your personal information, but it’s still out there regardless. Ultimately, if you put out information to one audience, it can very easily be passed on to another audience; remember this!
4. CONTENT: This strategy is when you maintain your real identity but only give out carefully considered information. This is effective if you manage to regulate the information as such, but you could still inadvertently reveal information you didn’t intend to release.
An example could be that you installed an app and registered on it with [as your actual self ] not realizing that the default settings give out your some information such as your address or location or some other kind of information you wouldn’t normally disclose. So always remember to check app settings and configure/customize them to suit your needs.
5. OPEN: This is by far the most risky strategy. This involves being blatantly transparent with your identity and personal information. It is suitable for certain situations and people, but it is obviously high risk and makes you extra vulnerable to attacks.
The deal is to still restrict certain personal information, even when when using an open strategy; not everything is for everyone. And clearly, this strategy is NOT suitable for someone interested in in privacy, anonymity and security.
6. CUSTOM: This is generally the best strategy for most people. It allows you to exist on the internet and limits information disclosure by using different combinations of the the other strategies. Call it the Hybrid Strategy if you will. When information is custom to the audience, there is less risk. When Identity is custom to the content, there is also less risk. The combinations are totally up to you and your needs!
Whatever strategy you choose, you should only post the kind/amount of information as is necessary. Because even if you don’t care about privacy or anonymity, you’ll still be better protected against Identity Theft, Phishing Attacks, Spam Mail, Social Engineering Attacks, Hackers, Con Men, etc; if you simply limit the amount of personal information you give away.