May 9, 2007 | By Naman Bagga | Filed in: General, Tech Talk.

Signing up for an account with websites like hi5 and orkut is not as safe as you think it is.Hi5 has very controversial Terms Of Service which say that they can disclose your personal information like your E-Mail id. This is an open invitation to spammers. Another facility provided to spammers by hi5 is that there’s an option of searching by email. Now think about it, once a spammer verifies that a particular email-id exists, he can fill the inbox with spam. More importantly, the information you enter in your hi5 or orkut profiles are a good aid to hack your email id.

For instance, if you have a Yahoo account all they ask you in the first step is your birthday (which is visible on these sites), your pin-code and country. If someone knows where you live, he can obviously get your pin code and your country is not at all difficult to figure out. Orkut has an option of displaying your pin code on your profile. Some people have email-ids which have their birthdates in the username.

In the second step you are asked your secret question to display a new password. Some hint to the question can be derived from your orkut profile. Some people have questions like “What is your favorite pass time?” Everyone knows that almost everyone has the answer as Reading. If not your interests can be viewed through your orkut profile. So be prepared to get your email id hacked if you disclose much information about yourself.

Now that you have understood the hazards involved if you have an orkut profile, I would like to make a few suggestions to protect your email id.

Firstly, check that you don’t give your correct pin code to orkut or remove your pin code from orkut.

Secondly, check your security question. If it can be answered by reading your orkut profile or it is too obvious then change it.

If you are crazy about some celebrity and have joined a community related to him, make sure that your secret question is not related to that person.

Select the option of hiding your birthday by editing your profile.

Just take all these precautions and use orkut safely without any worries. But if you have a hi5 account its better to delete it.

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