Many of the tips this blog provides are active measures to protect yourself from cyber security threats. However, sometimes less is more. You can be super secure with your security setup, then blow it all away by oversharing on social media. Here’s a list of items you should avoid posting on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
1.) Your birthay
Many website security measures use your birthday as a method of authentication. By posting it on your social media for the public to see, you are basically giving away a layer of security to the bad guys. Birthdays are a common component of digital signatures, so you want to be cautious about who you let see your birthday on Facebook.
2.) Vacation photos and plans
Who doesn’t love to show off to their amigos that they are sipping mojitos on a palm-laden, sun-kissed beach while their amigos are trekking to work through the ice and snow? However, if you are going to post those photos, it’s best to wait until you return home. While you may take delight in your buddies misery during your tropical ventures, you are advertising to potential criminals’ delight that your home is unoccupied, and you could return to some misery of your own.
3.) Your current location
In the same vain as not advertising your on vacation while on vacation, advertising your current location, which is a popular feature on Facebook, is akin to putting a giant “ROB ME” sign on your front door. Letting the bad guys know you are not home by posting your current location is setting yourself up to be a victim.
4.) Relationship status
While it’s fun to proclaim your romance to the world, relationship statuses tell criminal stalkers a lot of information you may not want them to know. In a relationship and proud of it? To a stalker, that means “I’m out on dates with my significant other several evenings a week. Monitor my patterns and know when I leave my home unoccupied for hours-long romantic romps.” Listed as being single? That tells a stalker or someone intending you harm “I’m home alone with nobody else to watch my back.”
5.) Anything you wouldn’t want your employer, future employer, or investigators to find
We all were (or will be) dumb teenagers at one point in our lives, and many of us might possess drunken pictures of our teenage selves making out, doing drugs, chugging vast quantities of alcoholic beverages, or other things that dumb teenagers do. While we don’t always grow out of this phase when our numeric teenage years end (heck I’m nearly 30 and know several similarly aged peers who still act like dumb teens), they are not emblematic of someone a potential employer will want to represent their organization. If your boss or a potential future boss saw pictures of you being a dumb drunk, they would probably not want you to be in their employ. If you value your job, or will want a job you’d value in the future, be careful what you post. This also goes for posts about your job. Don’t share posts expressing frustration with coworkers, information that competitors might use against your employer, or anything that could harm your professional reputation or your employer’s business reputation. Furthermore, as a child of a (retired) prosecutor, I can’t tell you how many defendants my mom has nailed by going on their public profiles on Facebook or Instagram and gleaning damning information that the defendants themselves post or allowed to be posted on their profiles. There is no right to privacy on social media, and anything an investigator can find is fair game, weather as part of a job application or a criminal inquiry. Be careful what goes on your profile. If there’s any doubt in your head that what is posted can be construed in a negative light, don’t post it. It’s that simple.