6 ways to keep your #identity #secure #online

Think about what your doing, security is a choice

I have been using the Internet for years in fact long before the world wide web became available but one thing has always mystified me;

Why do people willingly give away so much private, valuable and dangerous information about themselves?

Going back to a pre-web example, I realized years ago, in my teens that my signature was valuable, it may have been while forging my mothers on a school sick note. But the knowledge of that essential truth made me have different signatures for different purposes, government documents, cheques, membership forms etc all have different levels of importance and risk.

And because of my experiences I have taken this kind of thinking into the digital realm

1. Don’t always use your full or real name

I know some websites require your real name but unless you need to make a payment you could spell it in a different way, add middle names or initials other than those on your birth certificate.

2. Don’t supply your real date of birth

Most websites will never do anything with this information apart from market stuff at you. If this makes you feel weird make your self older than you are, plus or minus two years works well, but change your day and month too.

3. Don’t provide your real address

Some websites require this for their security, put some typos in on purpose, add an A or B to your building, but remember them and use them consistently across the web (as there is a look up database). If your buying things you’ll need your correct address and postcode for 3d secure card security.

4. Don’t supply your real town of birth

Give your best friends or partners town, this is usually a really important banking security question, so any answer you can remember is relevant (usable security).

5. Don’t provide real bio metric information including pictures

Don’t use pictures that can be used to create identification documents, have your head turned  to one side or the other, also be taller or shorter, just don’t give very accurate information.

6. Don’t supply extra information

If it’s not required (if a good design indicated by an asterisk), give the bare minimum to get access.

Why does the security of your online identity matter at all?

Well in the simplest form all anyone needs is three key identifiers;

  • your name
  • your date of birth
  • your town of birth

and they can get a copy of your birth certificate totally legally in the United Kingdom.

Once they have your birth certificate they can apply for other forms of identification and then start spending your credit value.

Another useful thing from this type of attitude to supplying information is to find out which companies are selling your data and then decide if you still want to deal with them.

Never provide any information to someone who messages you online on on the phone, if they called you they already know who you are, if your interested to communicate don’t use any link or numbers they give you look up the company independently and call them through their switchboard.

And finally;

careless information costs billions, no matter how secure a company says it is always assume they will be hacked at some point either electronically or by a staff member

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#Lies damn lies and #user #experience

User experience has in recent years become the greatest area of fraud and theft in business. Because the output documents appear simple huge numbers of people without any formal knowledge of what goes into them are having a go.

Be careful of Fakes

Avoid designers, look for Architects and Consultants, with an MSc and good client references (but not a portfolio) which can be viewed on LinkedIn.

The most common request for people involved in user experience is to produce wireframes (low fidelity pictures) a task that a child could do.

Wireframes should be the container document for standards, insights into target audience expectations, business KPI’s and brand values.

Ignorance in UX can be costly

The real problem is that recruiters and clients don’t know what they should be getting for their money.

A good indicator that someone is ignorant is a request for a portfolio. A portfolio is a set of images that express the capability of a designer involved in architecture, graphics, fashion design etc, but it is not relevant for UX. The reason it’s not relevant is that the complex ideas within wireframes need an expert to review and validate them against standards.

People who want to see a Portfolio are incompetent

If the interviewer does not know the standards, frankly they deserve to be fleeced, it’s like employing a plumber to represent your interests in court instead of a solicitor because they can make a good argument. The action of the argument is not important, even if there are lots of buzz words included because legal matters like usability matters are complex interrelated sets of rules and dependencies.

So unless an expert does the review the activity is pointless, a secondary but probably more damaging problem is ownership, rights and breach of contract.

Wireframes contain information on “How it Works” not “How it Looks”

How something works is the inventive element and belongs to the client. If clients are not protecting their Intellectual Property in UX, they really should be quite aggressive about it, but all contracts have a provision for this protection asking to see UX work from clients is a breach of contract and breach of IP.

Asking people to show a UX portfolio is asking people to breach their contracts.

If you or your team require training on interviewing UX people please contact me.

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