Be Wary of Oversharing

Patrick Laverty

Patrick Laverty

We’re now at the point where social media isn’t just for teenagers any more. Parents, grandparents and apparently everyone has their own Facebook account, uses Twitter and puts their photos on Instagram. We all have fun when we get a “friend request” from a name we might not have thought of in years. We can reconnect over Facebook, see their family and how life has gone for them.

People also seem to be able to use Twitter, a platform that allows for 140 character statements at the click of a mouse. It can be fun to announce what you’re doing today, tell all how proud you are of your child’s school accomplishments or to brag about the upcoming Bermuda vacation.

Instagram and other photo sharing sites allow you to easy snap a picture on your phone and immediately upload it for the world to see. Never mind trips to the old Fotomart or even copying pictures from your camera to your computer and emailing them out, it’s all instantaneous. How can it get any better than this?

Well, it really can’t. It is great, but it’s also great for people who may want to get information about you. If you don’t keep your Facebook account private, make your Twitter account protected and only show photos to people you want to see them, then yes, literally anyone and everyone can see them.

Recently, Prince William of England published some photos of him in a British military base with some of the other soldiers to his Twitter account. One thing no one noticed at the time was a paper on the wall behind him with a computer’s username and password. Whoops. The information went out to millions.

Server racksFacebook also loves to keep information about you. Things like your date of birth, the schools you went to and where you work. Add on to that, the basic point of Facebook is to be connected to friends, your account may be exactly what someone is looking for in order to answer some questions. Which questions? How about the password recovery questions that many web sites may use. “What street did you grow up on?” or “What was your first school?” or “What is the name of your childhood best friend?”

Lastly, if you’re going to go on vacation somewhere away from home, you may not want to announce that before you get back. Sure, it’s tempting to post something like “Only 12 more hours until my cruise leaves for the Caribbean!” and that may make your friends jealous, but it says something else to people will bad intentions. It says that your house will be empty and not one will there for about a week, starting tomorrow. Come on over and take what you want!

Keep using these resources, they can be great for what they do, but just be careful with who is able to see your information and what they’re able to see. You never know who might be watching.

Posted in Safe Computing, Winter 2013 Edition | Comments Off