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How to Tighten the Leash on Social Media
We are all living in the Digital Age and powering our daily lives via the Internet of Things (IoT). As we post, click, and clack away, we often unknowingly share a plethora of personal data. Your data is collected, stored, shared, modified, and sometimes copied and deleted repeatedly, placing you and yours at risk for cyber-attacks. One of the most lucrative attack targets for cybercriminals is to steal personal data about you. Searching for details, these lurkers prey on life-changing events such as becoming a parent, losing a pet, a death, and purchasing a new home. Why? Because during these emotional events, we react, share, and interact with others who care about us, providing details such as phone numbers, addresses, names, dates of birth, etc., and all these personal data points are transcribed into Personal Information which is precisely what the perpetrator is seeking.
So, what can you do to covet your information and still share and celebrate your stories, pictures, videos, and life-changing events online? Here are five baseline activities that will enhance your personal security:
- Do not avoid security software upgrades or patches. This is the easiest and quickest way for you to be taken advantage of. Be sure to update all your devices and software, including baby monitors.
- “Happy Birthday” – birthday greetings and festivities are a hot target. When we post our birthday or wish others a happy birthday, we provide unknowns with the month and day of birth. The year of birth is relatively simple to acquire! Uncommonly when announcing a new baby or “Happy 50th. Celebrate your virtual birthday online. Select a date before or after your actual birthday.
- “Sailing the seas, on a cruise for two weeks” – the vacation announcements. Try to “skinny down” your delight with these types of events. Hold back on when you left and when you are returning. Or better yet, indicate that you have left the home front in the care of a house sitter or relative Post a pic or two while away, but try to toggle the postings after you visit each location and don’t fully disclose the location.
- “Please help us find Snoopy” – lost or missing pets are a prime target as these types of posts are usually posted to a broad audience – Public View. We are frantic to get our pets back and often share every detail on multiple sites. Try to get a google phone number; this will help to protect your personal numbers. Create a new email account to receive updates and insights from those reaching out to provide updates and sightings about your pet. Posting images, pictures, and videos of your pet limits images of family members and others; if possible, share only images of your pets.
- “Home Sweet Home” – New home is a happy celebration. However, sharing your new address (even images of your new home with the house number is viable data for criminals) and specific location is akin to leaving all the doors and windows open.
The key point to ponder for Social Media sharing and posting is to know that once it is posted, your information will always be available – limit sharing to your close friends vs. the public when possible. When others share your content, it goes beyond your reach and is available to others whom you may not know or be aware of.
Written By Pamela Fusco, a U.S. Navy veteran and a former advisor on Critical Infrastructure for the White House. She is an internationally recognized cyber security executive and leader for companies such as Digex, Merck, Citigroup, Apollo Group, and Splunk. In 2021, she launched ZuluTails.com, the world’s only People to Pet Portal (P3), recognized by Pet Insight’s 2022 Vanguard Award for Best ID Tag is a “Software As A Service” company that connects pet advocates and their families instantly and avoids the need to distribute flyers and or broadcast on social media posts.
When Pamela isn’t hard at work making the world safer for humans and their pets, she travels with her husband, daughter, five rescue dogs, and their cat.