When you register a domain name, your domain registrar (e.g. register.com, dyn.com, hover.com, etc.) asks for a lot of detailed information. Depending on your business structure, this may include personal information like your home address and phone number.
You might think this information is kept private on your registrar’s secured computers. Maybe it is. Maybe it isn’t. Unless you signed up for a domain privatization service, it’s probably open for everyone to see.
Check Right Now If Your Personal Information Is Public
Go to http://who.is and type in your domain name. Do it right now. I’ll wait.
Okay, what did you find? Is your personal phone number and home address listed? If so, I would encourage you to go to your domain registrar and check to see if they offer a service to make your personal information secret or private. There’s usually a minimal charge for this service, but heck, it beats getting your website hacked, or worse, your identity stolen.
Is it Really Much of a Risk?
The more your personal information is public, the easier it is for identity thieves to hack into your accounts. Identity thieves look for seemingly innocuous personal information (e.g. pet’s name, children’s names, year you graduated high school, etc.) to bypass security measures on online accounts.
You know those security questions you have to answer if you forget a password? How much of that info is on your Facebook profile or LinkedIn account? So having your personal phone number and home address gives criminals that much more ammunition against you.
Don’t believe me? Read this story about what happened to Josh Bryant, the co-founder of Droplr.
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