An article on CBC’s website on January 19th highlights the danger of providing personal information to websites and telephone callers. While the person who is the subject of the article can’t pinpoint a specific incident when her personal information was stolen, the article does describe how thieves collect this data – by collecting your name and birthdate on websites (even Facebook), by posing as innocent sounding telephone surveyors and asking personal information about you and your family, or by receiving replies to emails that appear to be sent from your friends.

The techniques listed above all fall under the heading of Social Engineering, and are the same techniques used by hackers to gain access to corporate data, such as the incidents at Sony, Home Depot and Target last year.

The internet has made access to information easy. You can find pretty much anything you want through a Google search, shop from your living room couch, and share personal details of your life on a multitude of social media sites. However, with this ease comes responsibility. Every time you turn on your computer/tablet/smartphone, whether from your home or office, you should be conscious of what information you are divulging, and take steps to ensure that you protect your personal and corporate identities.