This week, I have decided to take a break from the regular chatter and discuss something somewhat serious. For those of you who do not know, one of the elements of my Masters course in Edge Hill University is Information Security and a pervasive part of that field is Internet security. Nowadays, people rely so much on the internet in order to run their daily lives. One way or another, we all make use of the internet, hell I’ve seen a couple of toddler profiles on facebook.
Matter of fact is, if you are reading this blog, you too are an internet user, what differs is how each individual uses the internet, but then again, this distinction seems to get thinner and thinner with each passing day. Almost every internet users use email! Whether yahoo, MSN, gmail etc, we’ve all got one somewhere. And then there is the social network phenomenon: facebook, twitter, linkedin etc. And then we have the ubiquitous blog, website, forum where a lot of people find answers to their problems, avenues to let themselves loose and a platform to showcase themselves. And then there are times when we really can’t distinguish between our social network platform and our email provider (facebook email and google buzz!!! :-/ )
In the past, we had to maintain a user name and password for all of our online accounts, and so we might have as well been a different person in every different online environment. Different sites had different authentication and security requirements and we had to battle with remembering user names and password combinations. And then someone though of using email addresses as usernames and it was the fad for a while.
Enter Web 2.0, social platforms and open authentication and the dynamics of user registration evolved dramatically. Not only did we not have to use a different username and password but in many cases we didn’t even have to fill a form to register anymore or sign in to get access to our profiles across different independent sites. It seemed like life couldn’t get any better. And then recently, we began to see cross email platform registration. The ability to sign into your email using your facebook login, accessing your yahoo email using your gmail login. It seems too good to be true, right? Before you answer lets backtrack a bit.
Read part 2 of Keeping Safe online for the answer to that question, the caveats to be careful for and how to keep yourself and your friends safe online.