19 June 2018

Lawrence Jones MBE taking time out in Verbier. Social media.How often do you share your life on social media?

It’s all too easy to become caught in a cycle of one-upmanship, of sharing every aspect of your life on social media to keep up with and compete with your peers. But what’s the real value of what you are sharing?

The ‘new home’ photograph with geotags or location enabled, combined with your ‘countdown to holiday’ post suddenly gives anyone who’s looking your address and information about when your home is empty. Equally, posting a selfie at work with your security pass in the image is handing fraudsters a vital piece of information to replicate.

I remember a few years ago we were setting up a surprise event for the UKFast team. I posted an image or two of the stage going up, building the surprise of where the event would be and what it was all about. A matter of hours later, a few of our cybersecurity team replied to the post with a selfie of them by the stage! They’d looked into the geo-data of the image and found the site. To say that was an eye-opener is an understatement.

Nowadays, 83% of fraud occurs online. It’s no coincidence that this number is rising as social media user numbers rises.

More often than not, staying safe online comes down to common-sense actions that are simply forgotten. Here is a reminder…

Check your privacy settings

Who can see the posts you share? It’s good practice to review your social media settings at least once a quarter to check in with who can see what you share online. It’s easier than ever to customise your privacy settings on each platform to lock down your information. Of course, after the Cambridge Analytica scandal earlier this year, it’s clear that we never really know who can access our data, so it’s always better to err on the side of caution. The more you share, the more at risk of identity fraud you are, it’s that simple.

Do you know what you’re sharing?

Behind the nice images and posts, there may be a lot of hidden data. The metadata hides a whole host of information from geotags to timestamps (sharing where you were and when), and even the device the image was taken on. Whilst some networks delete metadata of this sort, not all services do.

What’s in the background?

Do you have a password on a post-it by your screen? Firstly, that’s a terrible idea! Secondly, is that password post-it in the background of that lovely photograph of your #deskbreakfast that you shared on Instagram this morning? What’s on the computer screen behind your colleague’s head in your latest work selfie? Being aware of what’s in an image or video is half of the battle.

Limit your information

Whilst it seems like we’re obliged to input every single detail in the fields in social media profiles, actually, we’re not. The majority of this information is optional. When you really think about it, you’re handing your data over on a plate when you complete these forms: where you went to school, where you currently live and where you’ve lived in the past, your relatives’ names (and their maiden names if they’re on the platform too – hello, password clues), your pets, your interests, your date of birth. When your profile is public, this information is ripe for the taking by cyber-fraudsters.

These are just a few of the key tips to securing the basics of your personal social media profiles. Share your top tips in the comments below.

If you’re concerned about cybersecurity, particularly for your business, come along to our exclusive Unlocked event in July. One-on-one advice and insight from the experts. Take a look at the website for more information.

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