Giving away too much information online may spell trouble for you. By Estelle Low
It may not be such a good idea to let the whole world know that you’re on vacation. Photo: maridav / www.123rf.com
It’s tempting to share every detail of your life online, especially if you just got married, a cool new job, or had a kid. But giving away too much information, such as your date of birth, phone number, email address or even your dog’s name – likely passwords for online accounts – can lead to trouble. Think phishing emails, loss of social network account access, as well as identity theft and extortion by cybercriminals.
According to a 2013 Microsoft poll, financial damage from reputational harm worldwide hit $1.4 billion. If professional reputation is considered, the number amounted to $4.6 billion.
Here are eight tips by security software company ESET to stay safe while on social media.
1. Review privacy settings.
To be sure that your social media posts are reaching your intended audience (and not any stranger out there), create separate groups for close friends, colleagues and acquaintances. Be as selective and strict as possible.
2. Refrain from sharing your location.
You really don’t want the whole world to know where you’re currently hanging out, or that you’re on vacation for two weeks. Social networks often geotag users. For your safety, turn off this feature and delete any saved location information.
3. Go through social media groups you joined in the past.
If they are still public and open to everyone, be especially careful of what you post, as the contents can be read or seen by anyone. You could quit the group or contact the founder and ask him/her to change the settings.
4. Practise self-censorship.
Before posting a comment, or uploading a photo or video, imagine showing it to your grandma or a stranger in the street. Would you be comfortable with that? If not, it’s best to keep those content to yourself.
5. Examine every photo or video.
Do your photos and videos reveal sensitive information, such as your NRIC, car number plate or where you hide your house keys? When disclosed, you’re at risk of being harmed. Always check before uploading.
6. Read privacy policies.
7. Avoid sending sensitive data via messenger apps or email
This includes your credit card details, passwords, phone numbers and identification numbers. If you absolutely have to send such information, at least encrypt it.
8. Create strong passwords.
To keep your data safe, create secure passwords and change them frequently, especially if the password is your only authentication step. If those codes are too much to remember, use a reliable password manager.