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Editorial

Family Finance


Computer illiterate relatives maybe not as funny as you think


07/01/2007 - Do your parents call you up with questions about how to open an e-mail attachment? Are your second cousins having problems getting jpeg's to photo finishers? Is your brother confounded by the notion of sending you a photo of your new nephew?

If you find yourself chuckling because your relatives are constantly stumbling around in cyberspace and you think this doesn't affect you, you may need to reconsider.

Naturally, we have our closest relationships with family members. They are the ones with whom we're probably inclined to share our most detailed information, including the pictures of the new baby. But there may be an issue with where detailed, personal information really ends up if the recipient – your relative – isn't keeping their virus protection on their own computer up to date.

It may turn out that things you've shared with them are – suddenly and quite unexpectedly – much more public than you ever intended.

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Is there information about you on a relative's computer that you didn't think twice about sharing with the relative? What would be the consequence if that information were made available to a hacker because of a security breach on the relative's computer? What if your folks downloaded a keystroke logger that unlocked their computer – and your personal files – to hacker central? Your folks may not understand what a keystroke logger is but the end result could still be felt. And you could inadvertently be part of the party.

Just because you're keeping your computer security up to date, keep in mind that the other party might not be. So, be cautious about what you share. If you're chuckling about the relative's lack of computer savvy, just remember, it may end up affecting you.

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