The Information Thief – Social media sites, because of the sharing of personal information, pose a risk to sensitive online information such as Email accounts, bank and credit card accounts. In general these providers of online services provide the user a “security challenge question” option that allows retrieving or changing of passwords, particularly when forgotten. Answering the security question correctly allows the user access to the account again; this is the door that the information thief is looking to open. Once open, what was yours is now his. The security challenge question generally relies on a personal response to a question that is known only to the user. Examples include: Mother´s maiden name, type of first car, name of favorite pet, city you were married, name of first child, etc. For an information thief, these personal responses are the keys which he can find by reviewing your personal information on the social media sites you “share” your life with your network world. In particular, if your Email account is breached, generally there is much personal information about other areas of your life that opens the security breach further. In a very short span of time, the information thief is accessing your credit cards, funds are being moved, and purchases being made in your name.
Listed below are some recommendations to minimize your risk of personal security loss:
- Minimize the amount of personal information you share on social media sites and assume that what you “share” will be “shared” with others that you do not know. Whatever you share will be visible to a world you do not know.
- The answers you provide to security challenge questions, should be FALSE, known only to you. For example, if your first car was a Mustang, your false answer could be Chevy.
- Don´t use the same password for multiple online accounts and change them with some frequency.
- Don´t provide your personal information to ANY Email soliciting it, regardless of level of confidence of the source. Call instead.
Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are designed to facilitate the sharing of personal information with extended family and friends. This process of sharing is viral in nature. Those that receive this personal information can then “re-share” with their extended world of contacts, expanding the distribution network with a few simple step progressions. Information thieves and home burglars use social media sites as a means to gain personal information. They are part of this “extended” world of contacts that you will never be aware of. For the home burglar, he is looking for information that will identify home targets, that is when they will be empty. If someone posts their business or vacation travel plans or posts a photo while on vacation, the home burglar can likely anticipate when the house will be empty. Locating the house is simply a matter of checking online public records or cross-referencing with your telephone, whether public or private. The next step is a personal visit to “check out” the target. Most likely the home burglar has already set up a schedule of visits to different targets during the course of a business day. Remember time is money in business.
It is important to note that “privacy” is not a popular topic (i.e., liked) in social media sites due to the business model of personal profile sharing to their advertisers and business partners. Remember that’s where the money is! A review of Facebook´s terms and conditions clearly states that the user of their social media services essentially has FOREVER waived all rights to the privacy of ANY INFORMATION the user provides to the site, including HOW they use the social media site. Basically if you want privacy, don´t use a social media site.
Social Media Sharing Tips – Listed below are some recommendations as to how to minimize your risk using social media:
- Minimize posting personal information.
- Assume whatever you post will be visible to the world. Remember there is no privacy using a social media site, as your information will be available to an advertiser, the government or home burglar.
- Post information about vacation and travel plans after you return home.
- Post pictures from social events after you get home, not during them.
- If you have a smart-phone, turn off the GPS function when you post, since there are apps that automatically will identify your location. (Remember that a smart-phone is really a personal tracking device that also allows you to make telephone calls.)
For more information, please visit: http://www.NexusHomeSecurity24.com/