Protecting Your Online Identity

Community Managers are generally pretty visible people online.  Whether they’re internet famous on social media or infamous within their community, community managers have an online identity to protect.  How do you balance being a well known community manager for a large brand, a hot start up, or for multiple clients at an agency and making sure your information is safe?  Should  you use your own name, or make up an entirely new identity?  Handling internet fame isn’t all it’s cracked up to be!

We learned over the summer that a person was epically hacked using Apple & Amazon, and we realized that hacking can happen to even the best of us at any time.  Are there precautions we can take?  Find out how some people handle their day to day online personalities and safety:

TheCMgr 1) As highly visible people online, how seriously do you take your personal digital security?

AdamBritten My personality is on display, but my private matters (financial, etc.) are guarded.

KellyLux In theory, I take it seriously, but in practice I need serious improvement.

tmonhollon  I value digital security highly and try to follow best practices. But sometimes can be hard to define exactly what they are.

thatgirlmegan I have diff passwords & change them regularly & don’t put up personal info (phone, address). I don’t do much else

Historian  Pretty serious. My addr and phone# are no where to be found online. And for a long time you couldn’t find my kid’s names.

NateSpeak  I don’t really do anything different besides great passwords. I’m probably gambling with a lot:(

justinisaf  I used to maintain an entirely separate identity for online and offline. It worked for 8 years 🙂

apdolan   Many folks start(ed) online anonymously but as social networking because The Way – we’ve started being us-us. Scary but real.

BeckyBol I try and change my passwords every few months. It’s hard to figure out how to keep yourself “safe” – esp. w/form requirements

TheMiddle 2-Step Verification: A good start to security courtesy of Google:

apdolan For me: passwords I can remember > secure ones. Brain is so full already. Remember when we used to know friends’ phone # s?

alphamommie I change passwords once a year but keep things pretty linked together. I have home browsers save passwords but not shared.

TheCMgr Q2) Have you ever been hacked? How did you handle it/what did you learn?

seanherron I use Bank of America’s ShopSafe to generate CC numbers on the fly with a specific dollar limit. Different card for every purchase

Jmodio Apple ID Password Reset Policy Changes After Journalist Hack

GabieKur Had my personal FB hacked once – location/prof pic changed to something bizarre. Immediately changed my password.

threeThou Yep, gmail. Sent out a link for Canadian Viagara. I upped my password strength

tmonhollon That’s a great tip! @mafudge Use your google voice phone number for sites which require a cell phone

ichristianr_   yes. First was to notify my CTO and vital contacts. 2nd, reset all passwords. 3rd, canceled non-essential accts.

TheCMgr Q3) What precautions do you take to keep your information safe? Do you have a pre-emptive plan in place?

momnonstop  Only use personal devices to access private accounts and all of those are password protected.

alphamommie  Never ever give your login to anyone! Keep pswd list on paper, not on computer. Change pswd if you must give one out.

MrNifty246  Especially when I’m using devices that aren’t mine or from tech stores, I always sign off. And I always click to NOT save PWs

LovelyLu  I don’t have a preemptive plan, someone told me they change all their passwords on the first of the month……..

DrunkyMonken Added authentication where available, non-guessable passwords, and high security settings. Backup plan needs some work though.

thatgirlmegan When I do have to use credit card or give personal info then I make sure the wireless network I’m on is pwd protected

Mitch_M  I’ve added plugins to all blogs that offer a firewall & allows a maximum number of attempts before banning someone for 3 days

BeckyBol Yup, I look for a security logo from a respected company, and encryption https… BBB logo helps too

KellyLux  I think what’s important is to remember is that it’s YOUR responsibility to protect your identity, not the website or app’s

DrunkyMonken Remember that the longer a password is, the more secure it is. 120 character is virtually uncrackable, few services allow 120 tho.

MrNifty246 Use codes/IDs etc. that are already unique to you like school IDs, work IDs, birthdates, and use a mix of uppers and lowers!

TheCMgr Q4) What security features do you offer those in your community to make them feel safe?

alphamommie Education is key. Sometimes we get the “who are you message” & we give props for staying secure, teach & explain settings.

bberg1010  I use @ifttt and to remind me to clean out social permissions frequently

bberg1010  Like authorizing apps through your FB and Twitter accounts – I delete apps I don’t use anymore

BeckyBol We have a password protected space for our influencers and I always push to require LESS information from contest entrants

TheCMgr Q5) Name any tools/services you use for security/passwords/identify theft, or any resources to learn more about protection

TheMiddle   1Password is a great tool.

i_robin tools – SpiderOak for backup/sync of data, Keepass for passwords.

KellyLux I use Keeper. It syncs w/ all your devices and can back-up to the cloud. It’s free but they have pay model

DrunkyMonken  Every website I use, I try to make sure I can look at the last IP addressed that accessed it. That way I know about intrusions

djfanco As mentioned, I love #Blizzard‘s security portal. #CMgrChat Great ideas & practices for other accounts.

Mitch_M   If you blog or have a WordPress site, you need to add the plugins Limit Login Attempts and WordPress Firewall 2

mafudge I use for pw management, but plan on switching to soon. Seems easier to use on mobile.

tmonhollon  On the financial side,@LifeLock offers identity theft protection that helps you restore on financial side.

mafudge  Use a security browser plugin like HTTPS-Everywhere for Firefox, or KB SSL Enforcer for chrome.

Historian  Check out @roboform for passwords and filling form data. AES Encryption, Cross platform (desktop and mobile) and portable.

mafudge  Use 2-factor authentication on your Gmail and any other site that supports it.

This digest is taken from the #cmgrchat transcript that took place on August 8th, 2012.

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About the author

Jenn Pedde

Jenn is a Co-Founder of The Community Manager and the Editor-In-Chief. She’s also an adjunct professor at the Syracuse University School of Information Studies. You can find her almost anywhere online, but specifically on #CmgrChat every Wednesday from 2-3pm ET.