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Monday, March 28, 2005

I'll Show You Mine If You Show Me Yours

Michelle Malkin brings us the dark side of file sharing:

Don Bodiker uses a popular file sharing program to swap music and other information over the internet. He also uses his computer to prepare his taxes.

He never thought the two had anything to do with each other, until he got a call. "I had no idea who he was or what he was. I just thought he was a typical telemarketer," Bodiker said of the call. "And he wanted to inform me that my tax returns were being posted out on the internet. I was very skeptical but he then proceeded to tell me some very specific details about my tax return."

Click here for the entire article.

On file sharing software (like Limewire), you define a folder or folders on your hard drive as shareable. Unfortunately, the default sharable folder has the same name that a popular personal tax preparation software uses to store your tax returns. As a result, many people end up inadvertantly making their tax returns (which contain their social security numbers).

The morals to this story:

  1. Be careful about what's in your shared folder
  2. Think twice before you use the default option on software installations.
  3. Make sure you know what's on your computer - it's possible that another family member has installed software that you're not aware of (particularly important if you have younger children).
As Sean Connery in The Untouchables would say, "Here endeth the lesson."

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