Be very careful when and where you enter personal information on a computer. I’ll tell you why.
My son and I are marketing software that we developed to allow parents to monitor what their children are doing on the family computer. There are many programs on the market that have similar capabilities as ours. One of the features of our program is the ability to email information detected on the computer to the parents. When I was discussing our program with a friend, he made a comment that really caught my attention.
First, you need to know that although I occasionally write computer programs, I am not what you would call professional. When my son first told me of his and his wife’s idea for a computer application, I said I really did not know how to program the functionality he needed. But guess what, a little research on the internet revealed that, lo and behold, I could do what he needed. So I wrote the program and it works, it works quite well. Please note that the documentation for our program does clearly state that it is only for use on computers that you own personally.
Now back to my friend’s comment. He asked “What if someone installed your program on a computer in a public place, like the library?” Wow – what if - this is scary! Our program, like countless others out there, could easily gather information and email it to any email account anywhere. And if I can do it, so could anyone else with half a brain and less than honorable intentions.
So my point is, do not type any personal information, like user IDs or passwords, on ANY computer in ANY public place. It would be SO easy for someone to steal your information, and perhaps then your money. The perpetrator doesn’t even need a computer virus, only a simple program that was actually created for a good purpose. Imagine what a clever person could do with a virus. Actually, don’t bother trying to imagine. You and I don’t even have a clue as to what can be done and what is being done while you read this. As one of my favorite comments says, “Not only do we not know anything, we don’t even suspect anything.” I believe I adapted this from a Tim Sample joke.
So I say, as your mother told you, probably every time you left the house, “Be careful.”