I got wind of talks of an email that was sent round containing an article on Word document attempting to pin the recent increased tempo of Boko Haram activities to the suspended CBN governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi. After downloading the document to my PC, I hovered the mouse pointer on it to see its properties, as hinted by Gbenga Sesan. Here is the screenshot of what came up:
That Word document was authored by Reno Omokri, Special Assistant to President Jonathan. It is nothing but a smear campaign, especially when you consider that he had to use a false identity in sending the document out. Here is the screenshot of the properties box on same document:
This shows both who authored and who last saved the document.
Lessons for the rest of us
Let us forget Reno, Wendell and Sanusi for a moment. After all, this is a tech blog. What lessons can we learn as everyday computer users? Yes; your smartphone and tablet are computers too.
Every document, every file, that you create or edit on your PC has your stamp on it. If you send or upload it from your internet connection, your IP address becomes part of that stamp. The traces are always there. Of course, if you are a master spy, secret agent or some awesome hacker, you likely know how to hide those footprints. But I am betting a year’s income that most people reading this blog post are not. If you want to create a document under a pseudo name, go to a Cyber Cafe to do so. Reno, you hear? Ehen.
You also need to be careful who you give access of your devices to – laptops, PCs, tablets and smartphones. Whatever they do on those devices will bear your digital footprint. It is not paranoia. You don’t want it to happen before you realise how terrible the consequences can be when someone uses your personal computing device to do something wrong or stupid.
Don’t forget, using ICT tools is like walking through a jungle or moist earth: you leave clear traceable footprints. Safeguard your tools. Back to Reno, at least now we all can be sure that if he reads this article, he won’t embarrass himself same way next time.