Staying safe online post-separation
It’s the big picture ticket items after separation which often consume parties for a while, such as dividing the matrimonial assets, parenting arrangements, and even pet custody as well as adapting to a new social status of ‘separated, single or getting divorced’. I urge you to not overlook some other assets - the ones in cyber land. Get onto these as soon as the axe has come down severing your intimate relationship.
Partners are connected in more ways than joint bank accounts, shared furniture, photographs and private health. Modern couples today are intimately intertwined digitally and on many online platforms. Generally speaking, multiple issues can and do eventuate involving ownership, privacy and safety of these shared cyber spaces.
Cyber Asset Platforms to Consider upon Separation
Do you know your partner’s password(s)? Are your passwords known to your ex? Change them all immediately. Take your emotion and intimate connection out of the equation and - lock it all down.
It’s very common for partners to know each other’s passwords, digital identities, security passcode numbers, pin numbers and share online banking access. During the throws of separation, it is simple to forget about these cyber assets. This area is dangerous ground should things get nasty. One of the first steps you should take very early on in the separation process is to think about what your ex has access to, accounts you share and accounts you may need to start on your own. Common examples are: Email, Facebook, Instagram, Netflix, Foxtel, Stan, Spotify, Online shopping accounts like eBay or Amazon, Family Sharing Apps, itunes, App Store, Apple ID’s, Shared Calendars and of course online bank accounts.
Do you have any accounts that are logged in on multiple devices? I recommend you sign out of all of your accounts on all devices as soon as possible and create new accounts and passwords. Keep in mind, don’t use any old passwords or number sequences. Make up a whole new security identity that your ex would be absolutely clueless to crack. Annoying? Yes. Necessary? YES.
If you’re contemplating separation or have recently separated and are in a clear mindset to work through procedural stuff, sit down and make a list of all your digital platforms. I’m sure this will take an hour or so at least, but it is better to do it now to protect your cyber self, than have your ex- breach your privacy in the very near future. Which they will more than likely try to do.
If you share an email account with your ex and it is linked to social media accounts, this must be changed as soon as possible! You should log into the relevant platform and change your primary email in settings to the new email. If this is not possible, it is easier and safer for you to delete the old account and make a new one.
Why is it Cyber Safety important?
Your privacy is very important. If you are a victim of family violence it is extremely important to implement a cyber safe arena for yourself and your children. If you could or already have commenced legal proceedings your privacy is paramount. If you do not want your ex to know where and what you are doing, you need to make sure your ex cannot read your emails, Facebook messages or find your location using applications such as Find My Friends or Snapchat locations. Ex-partners can now install undetectable spyware applications on your phone which will track you, record you and send copies of all communications on your phone to the ex who is paying the monthly bill for the spyware. If you think your ex would do such a thing – get rid of your current phone as a matter of urgency and get a new smart phone. Then never give or leave your phone anywhere for your ex to be able to pick it up and install applications on your phone.
Things can get ugly, creepy ad stressful in your cyber landscape. So press delete and start a brand new cyber garden.