Secure IT Foundation

Don’t be yourself!

Posted on: September 30, 2009

Lying in life is generally a bad thing, however on the Internet normal rules do not apply, so it is time for you to be an expert liar. When you meet someone new then do you give them your real name? Why do you do this? It is because your real identity may be known by the person in the future and if you want to continue friendship, then lying at the start is a bad thing to long-term relationships.

On the Internet there are only a few circumstances where lying or using a false identity is illegal, like entering into legally binding contracts e.g. bank transactions, buying goods, or where you are using the false identity to perform other illegal acts e.g. access teenage chat rooms for sexual gratification. Each country has its own rules but outside of these there is no reason to be yourself all the time. No one expects a person with the nickname ‘romeoginger234’ to be called that in real life, normal rules do not apply.

As your default response to strangers is defensive, why would you want to tell everybody your real name and personal information? Only trusted people get that information after proving themselves to you. You are not a sheep, so time to act like a wolf. Create yourself an Internet identity which has no relevance to your real information, a new web based email account goes a long way towards this, and make up a fictional character to be you. This fictional character is distrusting, paranoid and security minded who says no all the time and doesn’t get intimidated. The only limit is your imagination, so be bold. The advantage of having a new character is it stops you transferring your own weaknesses or insecurities in real life onto the Internet and helps separate the behaviour needed to act secure, if out of character for you. One day you will have to insert your government issued id card into the computer before using, until then don’t be yourself!

The reverse side of this is that on the Internet no one is what they claim to be, as there is no legal reason to be yourself!

SB

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6 Responses to "Don’t be yourself!"

[…] has never seen the Internet though. In the post – Don’t be yourself we raised the concept of being a different character on the Internet. The benefit of following this […]

Dear,

I’ve read your blog about this topic. It makes sense but in the same time I wonder how a criminal will know if I use my real name or not. Is Minty James as fake as Minty6892? How would you know?

Regards
Minty

Dear reader,

The difference between using your real personal information and fake personal information, is that it cannot be cross referenced with public and private sources of information like electoral registers, telephone directories, google, hyves / facebook, linkedin etc. If you use multiple personalities on the Internet then it makes cross referencing difficult, if not impossible.

Typically people give away information about themselves in snippets while blogging, posting or commenting on public websites, and a skilled bad guy can piece these together to learn enough about you to either target you in real life and the Internet or impersonate you to obtain credit. You unwittingly become the fraudster until the Police see that you were really the victim.

SecurityBrad

Dear,

It is getting scary to use internet any more and that is an awful thought because it has so much to offer. You must become suspicious with everything you do. So much for spontaneous behaviour. And that is really a shame. On the other hand….. you don’t give away your entire life to a complete stranger you just met in a club or bar as well.

Regards
Minty

No need to be scared on the Internet, just be prepared that all may not be what it seems, all that seems too good to be true usually is, and have a plan for what to do if it does go wrong. If you are not sure what to do, then I would recommend you find a home computer security professional in your area who can advise you, and manage your computer’s security for you.

With a secure computer and an security aware user then only the bad guys need to worry, as their income source will be reduced…

[…] Don’t be yourself! People you know can be told your online identity to become friends online, people who you don’t know or don’t want to know can be kept in the dark… your identity is on a ‘need to know basis’ only! If your identity is stolen or compromised then you can create a new profile, use real information and it cannot be changed so easily. […]

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