The term Digital Footprint is often used to describe the amount of information content providers have about you and your interests, while many see this knowledge as trivial and feel it only effects their online world, the dangers go beyond the cyber realm. Take a few minutes to consider what your public / semi private activity says about you... Think about how the criminal element could use this information to target you and or your family. While this has little to do with the products or services we provide at KeepSafe Systems, I thought it was worth addressing.
How exposing / exposed are your posts? Typically I avoid using serious fear based vernacular in the content on this page, but I have seen a number of potentially risky profiles / posts, lately. Lets start with the obvious posting of vacation photos and other information. I know many people love to share their experiences with friends, but who else can see those post? Even if your posts can only be seen by “friends” consider the online friends who you have never met and are only connected to by way of mutual interests.
The risk exposure of social media to your home security goes beyond vacation photos. I see many people posting pictures of social / sporting events they will be attending, conferences and vacation planning, work schedules and even your work information. Consider how these posts can be used to create a home occupancy profile on you and your family.
While you may say you are not the only person living in your home, consider how your social media profile, as well as your public posts, indicate who your close family is; not only by direct connection but also based on the content of posts in both your feed, as well as your public group posts. Even something as innocent as a public tag or comment by yourself, your spouse or even a close friend can draw connection lines. If someone really wants to know where everyone in a household is, all they need to do is look at those close to you.
Look at my cool new Whats-it The risk of posting pictures of your latest expensive toys is clear, but what about the reviews or online comments you post? You do not need to post a picture of your new flatscreen, in order to let people know about the gadgets you have, a simple comment in a support or tech forum can be enough to build a profile of the valuables in your home. For that matter, these valuables are not necessarily restricted to electronic gadgets and wingdings; a photograph of you wearing a Rolex watch or an expensive diamond necklace can be enough to illustrate the value of your possessions. Even a picture of your expensive sports car can increase your skid appeal.
Personal safety of you and those around you I have a number of clients in various levels of law enforcement and many have a complete absence of any social media footprint, because of the risk this presence would pose to their loved ones. Even those in the public eye need to be cautious of the personal details they post online.
Phishing on Social Media By now most everyone who uses the Internet is familiar with the practice of Phishing. This is typically when a would be hacker / thief creates a fake website designed to encourage visitors to enter their username and password. Sometimes Phishing involves sending you an email, instructing you to log into a portal to prevent something bad from happening and other attempts can involve subtle social media ploys, disguised as memes and polls which prompt you for information either directly related to your password or the canned password reset questions we all create, with every new online profile. While questions about the name of your first pet, or the place you met your spouse may seem happy, the intent is far from happy, when a would be criminal uses this information to reset your online banking password. How do they figure out what bank you use, you ask... By browsing through the business pages you like and the online reviews you post.
Serious Wake up call Now for the part which prompted me to write this article. Not all online risks relate to your banking information and personal property. Some activities can put those close to you at serious risk of physical harm. The fact is, you do not have to be a police officer, politician or celebrity to be concerned about how your social media activity effects you and those close to you.
Recently I stumbled across the profile of a self employed single mother with five children, all of whom shared one bedroom with bunk beds. She has at least two young daughters, one of whom has self confidence issues about her appearance and may very well be easily flattered by a predator. The children also have a close relationship with their Grandparents, information on whom I could also find on her profile. I could even find posts which indicated where she lived, where her children went to school and what their extra curricular activities were. What is even scarier, I have never met this person and all this information was discovered in under 5 minutes. To clarify, the reason I looked through this profile was because I was interested in her photography business. The ease at which I found information about her and her children was troubling.
While, at KeepSafe Systems, our work primarily encompasses the installation and monitoring of Security Alarm Systems, in the Metro Vancouver / Fraser Valley region of British Columbia, I felt it was important enough to add this article to our Blog Page. After all, the purpose of our web content has always been more about education and less about the hard sell. My hope is the information I provide will help to keep you, those close to you and your property safe.