Orphaned Server Accounts

Pardon me, but you've left an orphan out there. Orphaned accounts are email or web usernames that are no longer used but haven't been deleted from the server. Small businesses and consumers alike would do well to clear their electronic trails of such wayward offspring.

For small businesses, orphaned server accounts can be an unseen hazard. Imagine you've let an employee go but haven't deleted their account. They could log in and grab sensitive data or rig the system to self-destruct; these days you don't need to be a computer whiz to do it. It's wise to make deleting accounts part of your standard personnel procedures. Avoid sharing accounts and passwords; set up individual IDs with specific access instead, and don't be tempted to leave post-its with passwords in your office. That deliveryperson could be a hacker in disguise.

Consumers should be aware of the orphans they may leave while visiting online sites. If you set up an email or web account somewhere but aren't using it, contact the site and ask them to delete it. Ironically, you may find some sites don't have a procedure for doing so. Talk to their tech people and request written confirmation that your account has been deleted. Otherwise you never know what someone else might be doing in your name.

Next month we'll talk about Alternate Web Browsers. Don't forget to subscribe to the email version of Tech Tips for the latest computer news.

Posted byTriona Guidry at 6:42 AM  


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