Posted by: Arian Eigen Heald
Google hacking, Identity theft, Privacy, privacy on the web
I have a series of Google Alerts set up to alert me daily on such interesting topics as data theft, data breach, etc., etc., and I have one set up for my full name, or any two parts thereof. I have, as it happens, a very unique name, and should someone decide to post my name and information for sale on any of “those” forums, or otherwise post as me, I will be notified.
It is common these days for HR staff to run a search engine query on potential employees. I still capture emails I sent out in 1999 about a technical issue where I was working that are archived in various places.
So you have a terribly common name – no big deal. Try using your full name in quotes, with a plus sign, then your city and state. So, for example John Smith might start out with Google results of “about 66,500,00,” but use of quotes narrows the results to “about 5,730,00.”
Now add a city, say Atlanta, and the results draw down further to “around `130,000.” Paradoxically, if you add Atlanta, Georgia, the results go up to 150,000, but if you add the state as GA, the results drop further to around 39,000.
If you’re on the web on a regular basis, do yourself a favor and keep an eye on yourself.