Social Media and Security

Posted by Josh on November 8, 2012 in Security |

When people think of social media and security, they often focus on the security of the particular social media site they are using.  Whether it is Facebook, Twitter, FourSquare, or any of the vast number of social media sites, the site itself is not your only concern.  You might be your biggest security threat!
You may have a shocked look on your face right now with the questions of “What? Me? How!?!” running through your mind.  I understand your confusion, you go through all the sites, lock down the security settings per the directions posted on the various websites that talk about security what am I doing wrong?  The answer is really simple…you are likely an “over sharer” with your personal information.
How do you over share?  Posts about when you are leaving for vacation, “checking in” at the gym or a restaurant, “tagging” your friend that are with you at the bar, etc, etc.  These kinds of  posting activities on  social media sites, not only tell others where you are, they also tell them where you ARE NOT!  You are not  at home and oh by the way Bob, Sue, and Sally are not at home either.  Over time, your daily routine can even be deducted from your posts, tags and check-ins. Think about all the events you chick “going” too that your friends can see when you will not be at home.  Often these events are planned weeks in advance giving someone plenty of time to plan a less than honest action against you.
While you lock down your Social Media to friends, do you REALLY know everyone on your friends list?  Maybe you have it locked down to “friends of a friend”, can you trust that all of those individuals are trustworthy with that information?   Remember, it might not even be you that is “over sharing”, it might be your friend tagging you in THEIR posts.
Does this mean to never post anything about where you are, what you are doing or whom you are with?  Of course not,  It is a warning to stop and think before you post.  Who will see this? Do they really need to know I am”at the Tiki Bar with Tom and Amanda “and will be” going to see the latest blockbuster moving at the 10:40 showing? ”   These kinds of post set individuals up not only for theft, but for social engineering attacks.
Social Engineering attack from my Facebook posts?   For those of us that are simply horrible with names and faces, someone could easily walk up to you and use facts about you that you have freely posted on your social media page.  “Hi, Steve, I am Bob Smith, we meet a few weeks ago at the Young Business Person event” (taken from your check-in there) and continues with various tidbits of information glean from your various posts.   While it might not work on everyone, it is a very real possibility.
Looking at the over sharing issue from another perspective, will the items I post and locations I check in at have a negative effect on my professional life?  Will a potential employer see that photo of me doing a beer bong and pass me over as a potential employee or promotion?   For those individuals with government security clearances, is there anything that I am posting or “liking” that may result in the removal of my clearance?
The bottom line here is to know your security settings, know who will be able to see what you post and stop and think about if you really want people to know this information, because once it is on the internet, there is no way to take it back.

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