Following advice from Andy Smith, an internet security chief at the Cabinet Office, urging internet users to give fake details online to protect their security, David Emm, Senior Security Researcher at Kaspersky Lab had the following comments to make.
He believes it is unrealistic to use fake details across all online sites, but that users should express caution and be selective about what information they do share online.
“It’s unrealistic to suggest that people should provide fake information across all online sites and services. Many providers of online services – not just government – insist that you use your real details when creating an account. In the case of social networks like Facebook, this is a response to the use of fake accounts to spread malware or gather personal information from others on the site. In addition, in the case of an online payment site, you will be required to enter accurate information at some point anyway.
“On the other hand, it’s important to realise that cybercriminals trawl through online sites for personal information that can be aggregated and used to commit crimes. So we all need to be wary about the data that we feed into sites – in particular, social networking sites. Not all such information needs to be accurate – in particular information that will be shared with the world at large – not just the online provider. To falsify a date of birth, for example (or adjust it to remove the day of birth, or to change the month) isn’t fraudulent, in my view – just prudent. And there’s no good reason why ‘mother’s maiden name’ (or other information used to verify your identity) needs to be true.”