The Threat from Social Media
This is a common occurrence in our daily lives. Our social media feeds are filled with information about the lives of people we mostly do not speak to on a regular basis anymore. Friends with whom we used to spend the majority our time, colleagues from a time when we were working a job we disliked, and people we’ve gotten acquainted with throughout the years– there are a lot of us who have Facebook friends whose daily rants we have no business knowing.
Here’s the thing: when we witness the unraveling of the lives of others on a daily basis, we start to see the self-vindicating pictures they share and the unnecessary information as a norm. In turn, we do the same things ourselves. We willingly offer personal details of our lives to the people we love as well as the people we barely know anymore.
No one tells you each time you do this that you’re placing yourself in a dangerous situation. With every information about yourself that you include in your social media profile, hackers are able to use these little bits of information to manipulate you, even if it’s something as simple as your date of birth.
Hackers are intelligent people. They understand that all it takes for them to get the hacking process started is by establishing a connection with you on social media. Facebook friend requests and connection requests on LinkedIn appear to be harmless and simple. After all, what damage will there be when you don’t even speak to these people? Let’s just say you accept these requests. The person who created the fake profile to gain access to your other friends or connections now have the ability to collect all these information to carry out an identity theft. Even if you are extremely mindful of what you share or don’t share, your friends and connections might not be the same way. For all the personal information we share about ourselves on the web, we are always surprised when people throw the same information back into our faces, and why is that? We did provide them with the pictures from yesterday’s dinner and what we do in the company with which we work.
What do LivingSocial, Evernote and Epsilon have in common? Their databases were all hacked in 2013, and had more than 100 million email addresses exposed and leaked to identity thieves. There are a multitude of things hackers can do with just a simple email. By gaining access to the messages sitting in your email inbox, you are revealing your bank account numbers, saved passwords for various accounts, addresses, contact numbers, and other valuable information to these hackers. With this overwhelming number of information as a starting point, who knows how far these hackers will go? Stealing your identity, using your credit card information for large transactions, and committing crimes under the guise of your name…the world is their oyster with the vulnerable information available in your inbox!
Cyber security is a tricky thing. Always be aware of what you share and stay away from the wrath of the hackers.