Cybersecurity Advent – Day 16

Today’s Cybersecurity tip is: be careful what you post

It seems obvious to say you don’t want to give away personal information online, but it’s surprising the information you can find about people with a simple search.

When you think about “personal information”, a few obvious things come to mind: name, birth date, phone number, SSN, etc. However, there can potentially be a lot of information that alone isn’t a big deal, but when put together with other information, can comprise a bigger picture of your identity.

In fact, depending on your location (US regulations differ from EU regulations) or even industry (health standards differ from financial standards). In general though, the more information the bad guys have about you, the easier it is to exploit that information. So, here are a few tips to keep your information private:

Make sure your social networks are private
Unless you need to maintain a public social media presence (actors, politicians, etc.), then your best security is making your activity on the network private or secret.

Keep your profile information limited
Even if you do need to maintain a public social media presence, you should limit the amount of information you share in your profile. The less you post, but better.

Verify your friends
It’s easy to follow anybody who follows you first. But making sure you’re only friending people you actually know provides another layer of security when sharing potentially personal information becuase you more likely trust somebody you actually know.

Validate your sharing settings
Take a look in your application’s settings to see what features they offer to limit who sees your information and how it gets shared. For instance, on Facebook you can limit how people even find you or whether they need to know your email address or phone number before finding you.

Think about what you’re sharing
Take a few seconds to re-read and/or think about the information you’re sharing. Is it something you wouldn’t mind everybody in the world knowing? If so, maybe you should modify what you post.

There are about a hundred more ways you can keep your information private. But what it all boils down to is common sense. You’ve certainly read somebody else’s social media post and thought I wouldn’t have shared that much information. Hopefully you will take a few minutes to check your sharing settings and feel safe about what you’re putting out there to the world.

See you tomorrow!