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Ashley Madison is a perfect example of that and many people were shocked at just how many identities were contained in the data, identities that then caused a great deal of grief for their owners.I want to talk about practical, everyday things that people who aren't deeply technical can do to better protect themselves.I'm going to focus on what's readily accessible to the bulk of the population.If you don't want your participation in certain sites going public, then this will be useful.
Let's jump into it, and we'll start somewhere simple.
The email address is the first, most logical step and honestly this is a huge portion of the anonymity story as it relates to identities being spread around the web when a system is compromised. Consider the data that many sites request on signup: name, location (possibly your exact address), date of birth, phone number etc.
If protecting your identity is indeed important to you, consider what these values should be.
The easiest personal identifier that will match you to a site is your email address.
It's a well-known identity attribute, it's unique to you and there are multiple ways of discovering if it exists on a given website. Also consider how you fill out the following form when you create the account: These attributes won't show up on other sites where the address is used, but they can start to surface in other places.
The measures you take to hide your identity from, say, a significant other or general member of the community may not be sufficient to hide from government oversight.