What Security Precautions Should You Take With Web Services That You Do Not Use Any More?

The web has been around for dozens of years but as a mainstream tool, the web has been around for at least over ten years.

While it may not seem like it, there have been a lot of changes during that time.

The services that we used when we first started to log on may not necessarily be the services that we use now.

For example, so many people used a service such as AOL as their first email address.

Now as email services advanced, a lot of those same people switched to a service such as GMail.

Even in your real life there are services that you used ten years ago that you might not use now.

Your favorite restaurant then might not be your favorite restaurant now.

But when it comes to the web nothing totally disappears.

99% of the media that gets put on the web will still be there on some server in a dark corner.

So what should you do when you are no longer using a web service?

What are the security implications of not taking care of your account on that service?

That is what I will attempt to answer today.

old, unused web services could still pose a security risk to you

old, unused web services could still pose a security risk to you

The Danger Of Old Web Services

There is an inherent danger that we must face when we are talking about services that are no longer used by us on the Internet.

The danger that we must face is that someone can break into the service and get our old data.

When we used a web service from the past we might not have been as careful as we are now.

Over the years the sophistication of the average computer user when it comes to computer security has grown abundantly.

While the average person still might not know a lot about computers, they at least know the very basics.

They know that there are bad guys on the Internet that will try to steal information about you.

They know that they should not trust every link that they run across.

This is a far cry from ten years ago when people were still getting accustomed to being able to communicate with people across the globe.

So if you have an old account from the past that you have not accessed in a couple of years then you might still be a victim of the security knowledge that you did not know back then and if the account has important information in it then you can still be in trouble even though you have not accessed it in a long time.

That will not stop a black hat hacker from trying to get into it.

This is especially true if the hacker has found that the owners of the web site have very weak security.

This just makes it easier to get to your and anybody else’s information on that server.

So the question that is in front of us now is what can we do about it?

What is going to make our online presence a little bit safer?

Clean Up Your Old Web Accounts

The first thing that you should start with is to clean up your old web accounts.

This means that you should do an audit of all of the old accounts that you have and see if they are still important to you or not.

There are a few web sites that while you may not go to them as often, you still want to keep the account open.

For example if you have moved on from Myspace to Facebook then you still might want to keep the Myspace account open for friends that you know who are still on there.

So if you think that you are not going to need the account at all then you should just shut it down.

Make sure that everything is erased and if there are any questions then contact the owner of the site.

If you think that you want to keep the account open for a short amount of time then you need to come up with a plan to make sure that it is safe.

The first thing that you should do is to take off any information that is not needed to make the account work.

The less information the better.

After that you want to make sure that you changed the password on the account.

The password that you picked in the past probably had poor security practices.

It was probably a password that you had used in another place before or it was a password that was not constructed very well.

Whatever the case may be just change it to be on the safe side.

Make sure the new password is a good long password with both letters and digits.

Making sure that the old web services you used to consume is safe is a very important job.

You do not want just anyone being able to get into your account.

There might be some important information left over from that time.

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.

Comments

  1. Good article Lee,, i think most of us have left places an not cleaned out before leaving, i know i have. Its something that years ago we didnt think of doing.
    I wonder if the places that left us cleaned out their data on us,, remember all those sites that closed up years ago, an there were several.

    Dave

    • Thanks Dave,

      Knowing what I know now, I shudder to think what breadcrumbs I left on the net back in the early days. Just as well some of those locations ceased to exist! 😀

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