Social media is an amazing tool, it helps us keep up to date with what’s happening in the world, what friends and family are up to and lets businesses show us offers and products tailored to our interests and likes.
Unfortunately there are people who exploit these platforms for their own gain, extortion, black mail, identity theft and burglary are just some of the things we could be faced with when sharing a little too much information.
So how does this happen? Take a look at your privacy settings on your personal social media accounts or your family members, who can see what they post? Friends, friends of friends, the general public?
Without realising we can unknowingly share more than we realise thanks to real time posting and location services. That picture of you on the beach, at the airport or you checking in to your favourite restaurant can let a criminal know you’re away from your home and that the coast is clear. Combine this with photos of your nice cars, expensive jewellery and you could have made yourself an attractive target, I’m sure, unless you’ve been living under a rock you’re aware of what happened to Kim Kardashian in Paris? http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-37538453
Consider what clues may be lurking in the background of your photos and think about geotagging (data included in your images to show where they were taken).
Something else to consider, insurance companies have warned that it is possible cover could be affected by announcing your plans on social media. Insurance company Hiscox previously told The Sunday Times that it does not insure celebrities who publish their holiday details and dates in magazines like ‘Hello’ and ‘OK’.
78% of ex-burglars interviewed said that they strongly believed social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are being used by current thieves when targeting properties, with 74% stating that in their opinion, Google Street View was playing a role in today’s home thefts.
Ever seen a TV show called Catfish? Thought not, that TV show conveys exactly how easy it is for other people to steal our photos and create fake social media profiles. Ok so that may seem harmless in the long run but if they can steal your photos what other personal information are you freely giving away to other people? Posting photos of your pets and their names? Is your birthday visible on your account? These are all answers to security questions and passwords and can easily be found with a bit of research. Be savvy about what information you’re posting and who you are friends with.
Similarly, to the opportunity covered above, young adults and adults can easily become the victims and they need not be deemed vulnerable. Imagine the damage a compromising photo could have on you and how much would you pay to prevent that from happening. The BBC recently reported on the large numbers of young woman from conservative societies being shamed or blackmailed with private and sometimes sexually explicit images. Read the article in full here http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-37735368
The good news. So although that seemed quite an extensive list of potential hazards, the good news is you can control these things, to a certain extent. By knowing the potential dangers you face, you can take control of your social media and online world and by taking control you know you have done all you can to protect yourself or your family.
Facebook guidance security https://www.facebook.com/safety
Twitter security guidance https://support.twitter.com/articles/18368
Instagram safety guidance https://help.instagram.com/154475974694511
Snapchat safety guidance https://www.snapchat.com/l/en-gb/safety