Pro Tips with Wayne Diamante: How to stay safe online

Photo by Yuri Samoilov
Photo by Yuri Samoilov

Dear Wayne,

I think I may be the subject of an identity theft. My email and Facebook accounts have been hacked and strange charges are showing up on my credit card. What do I do? Help!
— Claire

Dear Claire,

If your identity has been stolen, the best thing to do is go underground. Change your name, sever your personal ties, pay for everything in cash, get a burner phone and trust no one. After you’re reasonably sure you’ve covered your tracks, hop on a plane to Russia. Trust me, you’ll be fine. до свидания! — W

Mr. Diamante,

I’m the CFO for a local app developer and I have a question regarding data security. For the past several quarters, our company has been growing steadily and has started to attract international attention, particularly from China. We recently hosted a delegation of prospective investors from PRC and something seemed a little “off.” In China, is it customary to carry a camera, wear a bandoleer full of flash drives and ask for a moment of privacy to check your email on an office computer when touring a software company? On a scale of 1 to 10, how likely do you think it is that we’re the victims of corporate data theft? Thanks. — Dave


Corporate spying can be a real problem, but with some preventative measures you can minimize your risk. Whenever prospective investors visit Diamante Enterprises’ island laboratory, we confiscate all of their mobile phones and personal electronics and have them slip into our patented, ray-shielded, one-size-fits-all unitards. The snugness makes it very hard to conceal any potential items of concern, while specially woven magnetic fibers embedded in the unitard lining effectively erase any data on a device that may slipped through the, uh, cracks. — W

Lastly, use these Pro “tech” Tips to keep yourself Pro “tech” ted online!

• Don’t get caught with stale data; keep everything fresh by discarding your back-ups.

• Use a complex password, like your social security number, for everything.

• Only make purchases on public wi-fi, so there is a public record of your transaction.

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• If you insist on using different login credentials for the sites you visit, keep an email in your inbox with all your passwords for easy access, in case you forget details, and another copy on paper in your wallet or purse.

• Take a page out of the anti-vaccine movement’s playbook and skip installing anti-virus software. When you avail yourself of the facts regarding computer viruses, you’ll see that anti-virus software can be just as, if not more, dangerous than the viruses themselves.

Happy surfing! — W

This article was originally published in Little Village issue 202.